Archive for Carreon v. Inman (The Oatmeal case)
Believe it or not, we have a new contender for craziest character involved in the Oatmeal saga.
One of the more remarkable developments concerning free speech on the Internet was the creation of private registrations of domain names. This allows someone to create a website without revealing their identity and thus subjecting themselves to the censorious impulses of butthurt litigants and governments alike.* Sure, it’s a tool that can be abused by spammers, fraudsters, and con-artists, but protection of anonymous speech is a long-standing tradition, harking back to the days even before the First Amendment, when John Peter Zenger refused to unmask the authors of articles critical of the Crown Governor of New York.
But that protection is meaningless if, unlike John Zenger, who had the courage to face prison to protect the identities entrusted to him, domain name registers cave in to flimsy legal threats.
I’ve decided to start blogging again in large part because of the Carreon v. Inman, et al case, which hits upon two of my favorite legal subjects: free speech and the internet. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s a brief primer on it. If you’re a rubber-necker already well-acquainted with this trainwreck, I’ll be posting my own thoughts shortly, starting with the sexy First Amendment issues and saving the boring, tech stuff for last.
Matthew Inman writes, draws, and manages The Oatmeal, an irreverent (yet cerebral) humor website featuring comics that would make Jim Davis blush. Inman is known to playfully lampoons his critics, so it comes as no surprise that when he received an audacious demand from an attorney, Inman upped the ante.