The dispute between The Oatmeal and FunnyJunk dates back to 2010, when Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman criticized online humor aggregator FunnyJunk for posting comics that he had written without properly attributing or backlinking the posts. FunnyJunk's lawyer, Charles Carreon, sent The Oatmeal a cease and desist letter and threatened to sue Inman for defamation of his client in 2012. Carreon did end up suing, but dropped the suit later in 2012 after claiming that FunnyJunk lied to him.
After Carreon filed suit against Inman, the comedian and illustrator set up an IndieGoGo fund to raise the $20,000 in punitive damages that the FunnyJunk lawyer sought. The campaign was extremely successful, and in less than six months supporters of the artist and the comic raised over $200,000. After Carreon dropped the defamation lawsuit, Inman publicly pledged to split the funds evenly between the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation.
Charles Carreon filed a separate personal lawsuit against several individuals that he claimed set up a website intended exclusively to defame his name. Carreon argued that Inman was not authorized as a commercial fundraiser for the two charities and also that he incited his supporters to commit cybervandalism. The court threw out the second lawsuit in April 2013 and rejected a final appeal in September 2013.