When the cartoonist Matthew Inman was threatened with a lawsuit for accusing a humor site of stealing his work, he decided that he’d use the threat as a way to raise money for good causes.
He posted a copy of the lawyer’s letter on his Web site and asked his fans to donate more than $20,000 to charity.
He chose the $20,000 figure because the lawyer said in the letter that he would not file the lawsuit if Mr. Inman paid the humor site $20,000.
It took him a little more than an hour to raise that amount. In less than 24 hours, almost 10,000 donors had contributed more than $140,000, which will be channeled to the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation.
Mr. Inman says that Funnyjunk stole his work and posted it on its own site without credit. Funnyjunk says it only posts photos uploaded by its readers and has safeguards in place to ban people who violate copyright law. It says all of Mr. Inman’s content was removed from the site and he is misrepresenting how it operates.