I remember reading somewhere that the US of A has more lawyers than the rest of the world combined. And sadly there would appear to be very few Falconettis or Ironsides amongst them. Now, I must admit that I do know two US lawyers and they both seem very decent blokes. However, I only know them socially and haven’t seen them in court, so I don’t know for sure what they’re like. Still, the law of averages dictates that there must be some lawyers who help old ladies across the road, are nice to their mothers and who don’t steal candy from small, handicapped children.
Sadly, however, for each one of these, there would appear to be 10,000 mud-sucking, money-grabbing sleazeballs, intent on giving their profession a social standing somewhere between “cockroaches” and “dog poo on the new flokati rug.”
Such an individual is one Charles Carreon. (Another is Orly Taitz, but more about her another time.) Here’s a classic example of somebody so batshit insane we just couldn’t make it up… and if we did, you’d tell us to piss off.
Just to give you a bit of background on this… individual. It seems that he was the lawyer in the whole sex.com debacle and has also been suspended twice for playing fast and loose with clients’ trust fund money. In addition, he represents something called American Buddha, which just happens to be run by his wife, and which – ironically – is being sued for copyright infringement by Penguin Books. It also contains some really weird shit.
But now on to the real insanity.
Once upon a time there was (well, there still is) a web comic, called The Oatmeal. He pottered about, publishing his copyrighted cartoons and not bothering anybody. Until he came across a site called funnyjunk, that is. Now funnyjunk is one of those aggregator sites – they send out bots, who grab other people’s work and display it on their site – normally without any credit given. Sites like these rely on visitors to click on the adverts to make an income and of course, the original cartoonists don’t get a cent.
Needless to say, Matthew Inman (that’s the Oatmeal guy) was less than impressed by all this and asked funnyjunk to please remove the offending pictures. They removed some, but not all, whereupon Inman mused on his own site that maybe a DMCA cease & desist order was called for. Funnyjunk saw this as a threat to close them down and soon a flame war erupted between fans of the two sites.
Fast forward one year and enter Carreon. Obviously one with a fine nose for a quick – albeit sleazy – buck he decided that… wait for it… The Oatmeal was in the wrong and should therefore pay funnyjunk (and, of course, Carreon) $20,000.
Needless to say, Inman took one look at this, went “WTF?!” and decided to turn the tables on this money-grabbing scumbag. He asked his fans for donation to make up the $20,000, which he’d then donate to charity – in particular the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. This exceeded all expectations, and they managed to raise some $200,000. All for charity.
Enter Carreon again.
By now, he’d dropped funnyjunk’s case, based on “misinformation” but had his sights on a far bigger payday – and one that he wouldn’t have to share with a pesky client. In a move that would have made Shylock go, “Here, steady on!” Carreon sued Inman, the company used for the online fund-raising, as well as the two charities.
Let me repeat that – acting on his own behalf (attorney pro se) he’s suing a cancer and a wildlife charity. The meat of his “claim” appears to be:
Trademark infringement and incitement to cyber-vandalism. Defendants Inman and IndieGogo are commercial fundraisers that failed to file disclosures or annual reports. Inman launched a Bear Love campaign, which purports to raise money for defendant charitable organizations, but was really designed to revile plaintiff and his client, Funnyjunk.com, and to initiate a campaign of “trolling” and cybervandalism against them, which has caused people to hack Inman’s computer and falsely impersonate him. The campaign included obscenities, an obscene comics and a false accusation that FunnyJunk “stole a bunch of my comics and hosted them.”
The fact that a case like this has even gotten this far in the legal system, shows just how dysfunctional and broken the US system is. However, it gets better. Carreon has now amended his suit to include California’s State Attorney General Kamala Harris. One can only assume this is to get Harris interested in Carreon’s claims about fund raising fraud.
Not to be outdone, Carreon’s wife Tara has taken to the web, calling his critics “Nazi scumbags”, threatening to out commentators by getting a subpoena to see what’s on their hard drives, calling Inman an anarchist and saying that “fascists love anarchy.” Because we all know that Hitler loved him some anarchy.
I’m going to keep my eye on this case, if only because it’s proportions far exceed what it should have been – a footnote on an Encyclopaedia Dramatica entry. In any sane society, this would be thrown out of court, Carreon would be debarred and Harris would flay him publicly.
However, America is many things – sane is not one of them