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Man Who Tangled With The Oatmeal Ordered To Pay $46k

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the what-have-we-learned dept.

The Courts 68

Last summer we followed the odd case of lawyer Charles Carreon, as he went after Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal webcomic, with legal threats. Carreon had been hired by FunnyJunk, a website Inman accused of stealing his comics. Carreon demanded $20,000 in compensation for Inman's "false accusations." Inman declined, and then used the publicity to solicit over $200,000 in donations, which he gave to charity after sending Carreon photographs. Carreon dropped the suit against Inman, but the saga continued. A satirical website was set up about Carreon, which caused him to invoke the legal system again. The article documents the absurdities, which included further legal action and a song. Now, however, Carreon is reaping what he has sown; a judge has ordered him to pay over $46,000 for his role in the legal circus.

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Now we can call it... (5, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436693)

Now we can call it a "Justice System" again.

Re:Now we can call it... (5, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436769)

Only once it demonstrates the ability to carry out justice systematically, rather than just isolated accidents of sensibility.

Re:Now we can call it... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43436793)

Only once it demonstrates the ability to carry out justice systematically, rather than just isolated accidents of sensibility.

Oh sure, and while you're at it let's ask for a pony and cold fusion.

Re:Now we can call it... (2)

Dutchmaan (442553) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437131)

...flying cars and hoverboards!

Re:Now we can call it... (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438975)

...flying cars and hoverboards!

...and those two things would bring a LOT more lawsuits. Everyone's happy!

Bronies (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437679)

Oh sure, and while you're at it let's ask for a pony

Be careful what you ask for, or you might end up with the periphery fandom of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

and cold fusion

Be CFML [wikipedia.org] what you ask for here too.

Re:Bronies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43437895)

The GP made me want to see a MLP:FIM fan character named Cold Fusion. Internet! Make it so!

Re:Bronies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438019)

Cold Fusion: his impending arrival (to solve dire problems) is oft loudly proclaimed, and eagerly awaited by all Ponyville. In the end, it always turns out just to be a paper mâché llama under a tarp.

Re:Bronies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438395)

Why not just have the ponies MAKE cold fusion? It'd fit in perfectly, being a complete fantasy and all...

Re:Bronies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438591)

Why not just have the ponies MAKE cold fusion? It'd fit in perfectly, being a complete fantasy and all...

Who needs electricity when you have magic?

Re:Bronies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438647)

Everypony without a unicorn horn to operate said magic, you silly filly.

Re:Bronies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438683)

Translation for the non-bronies: magic is only for horny ponies, you dolt of a colt.

Re:Now we can call it... (2)

mariasama16 (1895136) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437547)

Well, another isolated act of sensibility is in the process of concluding out in California (http://www.popehat.com/tag/prenda-law/ for background on it). Maybe things are finally starting to make sense?

Re:Now we can call it... (2)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year and a half ago | (#43440147)

"Justice System" is a bit of a misnomer because it isn't there to deal out justice. It's there to ensure order. What order is is defined in laws. Since laws are generally broadly phrased, a judge will always try to rule in the spirit of the law and what is constitutional.

If there were a law "thou shalt be fucked by a bear each sunday" and you refuse a bear then you might be up for a tough time. Unless you get a judge with balls(metaphorically speaking) who points out that this law is unconstitutional and the spirit of the law is questionable in some respect even if it is popular in the bear community.

Laws and justice don't even live in the same house.

Re:Now we can call it... (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43441231)

"Bad laws" are one potential way a "justice system" can operate unjustly. However, the US justice system shows other systematic failings. For example, what if everyone who was rich enough could afford a lawyer to get them off the hook for weekly bear-fucking on a technicality, so only the poor got bear-fucked every week? What if roughly equal proportions of light-skinned and dark-skinned people avoided bear-fucking, but police arrested a much higher proportion of dark-skinned people (even higher than the total number of light-skinned people arrested), and then darker skin also correlated with a higher probability of conviction and harsher sentencing? Even if you replace the "bear-fucking requirement" in the above examples with whatever you might consider a "good" law, they're still examples of injustice (systematic class and race biases), and there is ample evidence that the US "Justice" system has those flaws in addition to "bad laws."

Sensibility? (1)

CountBrass (590228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43451017)

That word doesn't mean what you think it does:

That word doesn't mean what you think it does.

"Sensibility refers to an acute perception of or responsiveness toward something, such as the emotions of another. This concept emerged in eighteenth-century Britain, and was closely associated with studies of sense perception as the means through which knowledge is gathered. It also became associated with sentimental moral philosophy." - Wikipedia.

Re:Sensibility? (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43454951)

My word choice of "sensibility" was selected for connotations both from ("incorrect") association with "common sense," but also with reference to care and compassion for impacts on the human subjects of the justice system. My concept of "justice" can ultimately not be abstracted from accountability to the pain and suffering of those oppressed by the cruelty of a "looks fine and just on paper" system.

Specifically, consider these definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary:

3. Mental perception, awareness of something.

11b. Mindful of a person.

4a. Emotional consciousness; glad or sorrowful, grateful or resentful recognition of a person's conduct, or of a fact or a condition of things.

6. In the 18th and early 19th c. (afterwards somewhat rarely): Capacity for refined emotion; delicate sensitiveness of taste; also, readiness to feel compassion for suffering, and to be moved by the pathetic in literature or art.

Re:Now we can call it... (5, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436805)

It actually specifically disclaims any interest in dispensing justice. Ask any lawyer or judge: they'll make clear that their goal is to ensure compliance with the law, and that there is little to no room for being "just".

The Supreme Court "Justices", in particular, like to imagine themselves as "calling balls and strikes", regardless of whether the resulting judgment matches anybody's notion of justice.

There is one dimension of justice in everybody following the same law, but only one of many. And given that the law is frequently vague or contradictory, such that even the judges disagree on the "balls and strikes" they're supposedly calling, it seems to me that in many cases it's the least just of those dimensions.

I would propose that the next time a "Justice" declares himself to be "calling balls and strikes", that we rename his title to "Umpire", as "justice" is orthogonal to his self-defined description.

Be careful when asking for justice! (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437121)

It actually specifically disclaims any interest in dispensing justice.

Ask not for justice, lest you too be judged!

Re:Be careful when asking for justice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43437647)

As long as Simon Cowell isn't the judge...

Re:Now we can call it... (5, Insightful)

Spent2HrOnAName (1925474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438023)

This is an incredibly shortsighted view, and I find it alarming that it has been modded up.

there is little to no room for being "just" ... The Supreme Court "Justices", in particular, like to imagine themselves as "calling balls and strikes", regardless of whether the resulting judgment matches anybody's notion of justice.

The reason they have to do follow the law without imposing their arbitrary whims on the people that come before them, is that the law is BY DESIGN written by people who have to stand for reelection after they pass the laws (yes, there's the issue of whether our representatives actually represent us, and whether outside factors such as big money unduly influence elections, but it's not particularly relevant to the principle that's being questioned here).

There is one dimension of justice in everybody following the same law, but only one of many.

The idea of laws applying equally to everyone is a HUGE DEAL. It's the practical application of the whole "all men are created equal" thing.

Judges following their own notion of "just," and disregarding the law in cases where they felt it was unjust, would cause a lot of decisions that you would certainly find horrendous. As it is, judges face very little accountability. The supreme court justices are appointed "in good behavior," which is usually interpreted as "lifetime appointment, with the option to impeach them if they start acting completely horrible." So there's a very good reason why their job descriptions leave very little wiggle room to do whatever they feel like. Yes, the supreme court frequently makes decisions that I find appalling, but at least they have to back it up based on law and precedent. In the system you're yearning for, they wouldn't even have to do that, if they felt that "justice" (whatever they felt like that meant that day) demanded it.

I would propose that the next time a "Justice" declares himself to be "calling balls and strikes", that we rename his title to "Umpire", as "justice" is orthogonal to his self-defined description.

Call them "Umpire" if you want, but under your proposed system, we'd have another title for them - monarch.
I can't believe I have to spell this out, since it's high-school-civics-level stuff

Re:Now we can call it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438135)

Call them "Umpire" if you want, but under your proposed system, we'd have another title for them - monarch.
I can't believe I have to spell this out, since it's high-school-civics-level stuff

He was criticizing the notion of there being "justice" involved. He did not propose any system.

Re:Now we can call it... (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438691)

The idea of laws applying equally to everyone is a HUGE DEAL. It's the practical application of the whole "all men are created equal" thing.

Yeah, which the OP said - it is one aspect of justice. The others are, of course, that that universal law must itself be just. Also, that it be universally applied before it gets to the courtroom (no selective enforcement).

Re:Now we can call it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438133)

What's amazing about this statement is that the word Justice as handed down to us from Latin meant nothing more than accurate application of the law.

"Jus" is Latin for "law".

Only recently has "justice" been taken to mean "social justice", or simply "righteousness".

See also What if there's no such thing as Chaotic Good [blogspot.com]

or http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/06/rawlsian-god-cryptocalvinism-in-action.html

Hello. You are a victim of etymological fallacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43440429)

What's amazing about this statement is that the word Justice as handed down to us from Latin meant nothing more than accurate application of the law.

"Jus" is Latin for "law".

Only recently has "justice" been taken to mean "social justice", or simply "righteousness".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymological_fallacy [wikipedia.org]

The etymological fallacy is a genetic fallacy that holds, erroneously, that the present-day meaning of a word or phrase should necessarily be similar to its historical meaning. This is a linguistic misconception.[1] An argument constitutes an etymological fallacy if it makes a claim about the present meaning of a word based exclusively on its etymology.[2] This does not, however, show that etymology is irrelevant in any way, nor does it attempt to prove such.

A variant of the etymological fallacy involves looking for the "true" meaning of words by delving into their etymologies,[3] or claiming that a word should be used in a particular way because it has a particular etymology. A similar concept is that of false friends.

Also, while those blog posts MAY seem relevant to your train of thinking, they are UTTERLY unrelated to the topic at hand or to your comment as such.
One is pseudointellectual rambling about non-existence of chaotic good based on principles of misunderstanding of D&D and other is a rant against... I don't know... John Rawls?

Re:Now we can call it... (1)

LukeWebber (117950) | about a year and a half ago | (#43448319)

I would propose that the next time a "Justice" declares himself to be "calling balls and strikes", that we rename his title to "Umpire", as "justice" is orthogonal to his self-defined description.

And set his pay scale accordingly.

Re:Now we can call it... (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43455965)

They might actually appreciate that: the top umps in Major League Baseball make $300k, while SCOTUS salaries top out at $223k (and that's for the Chief; the others make $10k less).

Re:Now we can call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43453883)

As a retired lawyer friend of mine always used to say. "You don't go to court to get justice. You go to court to get a decision."

Re:Now we can call it... (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437009)

It's like the Justice League, but not as awesome.

Re:Now we can call it... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437151)

They have better powers than Aquaman.

Re:Now we can call it... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43437369)

Dude, Aquaman is underrated. He is totally bad-ass.

The guy can mind-control Cthulhu. Can you mind-control an elder god?

If you can as proof, please send such entity to 1346 Eisenfaust Lane....

Re:Now we can call it... (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437785)

But where does aquaman go to the bathroom?

Re:Now we can call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438325)

But where does aquaman go to the bathroom?

In the pool. =(

Re:Now we can call it... (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year and a half ago | (#43439861)

Justice?

Carreon starts this huge litigation fight. He takes steps to cost some guy's employer a lot of money in the hope that one of this enemies would lose his job. I'm sure that didn't help the next time he was up for a review/promotion.

After tons of pain and hardship for everybody involved a judge forces Carreon to pay maybe 2/3rds of the opposing counsel's legal fees.

This isn't justice - all this did was prove Carreon's point. If you don't give in early, expect to lose a lot of money in court. Sure, the court saw to it that they didn't lose as much as they could have, but this whole case was still a loss to them. Sure, Carreon lost some money too, but this was a fight of his choosing and presumably those who get into such fights do so willing to lose.

Bottom line is that if you tick off somebody who has a lot more money than you the courts will NOT be your friend. The best you can hope for is a Pyrrhic victory, like this one.

Re:Now we can call it... (1)

souravzzz (2001514) | about a year and a half ago | (#43441783)

Bottom line is that you get as much justice as you can afford.

Re:Now we can call it... (1)

geopsychic (932419) | about a year and a half ago | (#43441665)

I am not sure you can call it justice. The judge didn't recommend he be disbarred.

Now stop the carry on Carreon (1)

spokenoise (2140056) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436739)

Now stop the carry on Carreon

More puns! (2)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436757)

So, would those who destroyed him (though it's more like, helped him destroy himself) be Carreon Eaters?

Re:More puns! (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436779)

Carreon eaters? Like the Pak'ma'ra? Don't mess with them, they never leave the house without Pak'ing some heat!

Re:More puns! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43437225)

Not like he cares, he will Carreon regardless...

Re:More puns! (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year and a half ago | (#43440665)

Not like he cares, he will Carreon regardless...

Hmm.... I don't know if that [wikipedia.org] was an intentional reference [wikipedia.org] , but assuming it was, how about...

Carreon at Your Inconvenience
Carreon Behind
Carreon Cruising
Carreon Dick

Re:More puns! (4, Funny)

dccase (56453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437397)

Carreon my wayward son.

Peanuts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43436797)

Medusa would have demanded his life! Don't fool with Medusa.

"Charles Carreon" ? (1)

dosius (230542) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436809)

More like "Charles Carrion", am I right? *runs*

Re:"Charles Carreon" ? (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437811)

Two things. First, you're a moron. Second, you have the runs? Why would you announce that?

Better than... (3, Funny)

meglon (1001833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436833)

....Hollywood could come up with.

Re:Better than... (5, Funny)

ArmchairGeneral (1244800) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436879)

Still a better love story than Twilight

Re:Better than... (1)

fufufang (2603203) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436987)

Considering the Hollywood loves using lawyers to sue this and that, they are not going to make this kind of film any time soon...

More lawyers deserve such an end (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43436917)

Litigious lawyers are a scum of the earth profession, the maggots of civilized society. It's a white collar world today, but in earlier times they would have been cutthroats and pickpockets. Any sense of social responsibility is completely absent in their world.

Unfortunately, judges are lawyers too and so it's very rare to see them admonish bad faith litigation, and even when they do, the lawyers responsible are almost never penalized sufficiently to discourage further abuses in their professional life. Even this $46k fine is undoubtedly petty cash for the person concerned.

The legal system is an operational mess, with no internal negative feedback to keep its systems under control.

Worst, (0)

gatfirls (1315141) | about a year and a half ago | (#43436921)

Lawyer, Ever. If he was a criminal attorney his client, up for shoplifting charges, would end up in the electric chair.

Re:Worst, (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437157)

Well, he's certainly on a par with Dr. Blind, who did such a bad job for Gabriel von Eisenstein, [wikipedia.org] that his sentence was doubled.

He knows he is cool. (3, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437027)

douchebag n. fr. "douche", fr. French, fr. Italian "doccia"
1. An object used for vaginal hygeine.
2. Charles Carreon.

How are lawyers like vultures? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43437249)

They are largely reviled by society, but fulfill a vital role in the ecosystem by disposing of carreon.

Charles Carreon (4, Interesting)

Mullen (14656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437299)

I'm not a lawyer, so don't take legal advise from me, however, I have been following this story from the beginning and there are two things I get from all of this is: don't piss off the Internet and Charles Carreon is possibly a really bad lawyer.

He and his wife (To a lessor extent), have taken a blog posting by person with a serious and legitimate issue with someone stealing his hard work and managed to fold it into a substantially career damaging blunder. Every time Charles Carreon speaks, I just dislike him more and more and would advise him to hire him as a lawyer. How he continues to get any more cases is really beyond me. Two seconds with Google would demonstrate that this guy is possible off his rocker or a really bad lawyer.

Re:Charles Carreon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438515)

"He and his wife (To a lessor extent)"

What did she lease? I'm confused ...

funny (1)

physlord (1790264) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437693)

One of those rare times when I laugh (kk, may be chuckle ) at slashdot XD

The Oatmeal sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43437733)

I'm glad this lawyer got what was coming to him, but The Oatmeal is not funny and Matthew Inman is a piece of shit and a bully in general.

Re:The Oatmeal sucks (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about a year and a half ago | (#43437823)

I guess you and I are the only ones here with that viewpoint.

Re:The Oatmeal sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438621)

Citation? Sure, the 'not funny' bit is subjective, 'piece of shit' is an ad-hominem, but why bully?

Re:The Oatmeal sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43439987)

So says another Apple user [theoatmeal.com] .

Mathew Inman == RIAA (-1, Flamebait)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438321)

Mathew Inman first behaved by the RIAA trying to prevent FunnyJunk from hosting his cartoons. Doesn't he know that this will increase his exposure and he will endup with more money because of this.

Re:Mathew Inman == RIAA (1, Informative)

jockm (233372) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438681)

Well seeing as that a core part of his complaint [theoatmeal.com] was that his comics were routinely posted without attribution and with the all reference to The Oatmeal removed, he wasn't really getting the kind of publicity you are describing.

Re:Mathew Inman == RIAA (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year and a half ago | (#43439635)

GP poster should indeed have started by reading the actual complaints.

That said, it's still not 'stealing' as the summary alleges, and Matthew partially asserted. That and other claims are usually railed against when it's the RIAA, MPAA, etc. based purely on the technical facts. It should be no different when it's 'the little guy' - be it Matthew Inman or Katie Woodger [tumblr.com] .

Re:Mathew Inman == RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43441343)

Well, Slashdot readership is not some unanimous blob of group think, despite what others may claim from time to time. Some people do (and are here) complain about those things consistently. Others think that arguing over the whole using the word "stealing" is a pointless waste of time and move on to actual complaints about the tactics of groups like RIAA and others, or complain about what is wrong with the laws. This includes people interested in a middle ground that think copyright is horribly broken, but should not be abolished completely.

It's so obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438569)

There's a reason his last name is In-man. He's a fruitcake.

Your honor, I object, slightly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438983)

Charles Carreon sued 'The Oatmeal' on the grounds that he knew exactly what would happen in the wake of his 'satirical' response to Mr. Carreon's allegations. It has been my experience, based on commenting on the early days of 'The Oatmeals' web comic series that he needed to only show disfavor for any commentary on his work and legions of his supporters would 'bury' whoever crossed him. While I find very little, if any at all, legal merit in Mr Carreon's suit I do feel as the if 'The Oatmeal' is every bit as monomaniacal as he is accused of being.

Well, it has to be said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43439645)

That sure is some funny junk.

Funny junk indeed.

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