What should I do about FunnyJunk.com?
Here's how FunnyJunk.com's business operates:
- Gather funny pictures from around the internet
- Host them on FunnyJunk.com
- Slather them in advertising
- If someone claims copyright infringement, throw your hands up in the air and exclaim "It was our users who uploaded your photos! We had nothing to do with it! We're innocent!"
- Cash six figure advertising checks from other artist's stolen material
I first contacted them about a year ago after I found a handful of my comics uploaded on their site with no credit or link back to me. They took down the offending images, but since then they've practically stolen my entire website and mirrored it on FunnyJunk:
Most of the comics they've stolen look like this -- no credit or link back to me. Even with proper attribution, no one clicks through and FunnyJunk still earns a huge pile of cash from all the ad revenue.
Should I send them a cease and desist? One of my readers wrote in and mentioned that Cyanide and Happiness did that very thing, but from what I can tell it hasn't had much effect. There's still hundreds of C&H comics hosted on FunnyJunk.com, as well as thousands from other artists:
- The Oatmeal (926 stolen images found)
- Cyanide & Happiness (1000+ stolen images found)
- David Thorne (27blash6) (554 stolen images found)
- Calvin and Hobbes (1000+ stolen images found)
- XKCD (1000+ stolen images found)
- The Far Side (474 stolen images found)
- Amazing Superpowers (12 stolen images found)
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (78 stolen images found)
- Dinosaur Comics (42 stolen images found)
- Dilbert (64 stolen images found)
- Married to the Sea (24 stolen images found)
- Natalie Dee (58 stolen images found)
- Toothpaste for Dinner (17 stolen images found)
- FoxTrot (197 stolen images found)
- Hyperbole and a half (186 stolen images found)
- Perry Bible Fellowship (106 stolen images found)
Here's their only attempt at original humor:
And it's not just FunnyJunk.com, there's a small army of sites out there like this whose business model runs this way. Another one is DamnLOL.com, who managed to rack up 670,000 likes on Facebook by hosting stolen content and covering their website with "like this on Facebook" buttons. It seems like this "Host-stolen-content-until-someone-complains-meanwhile-earning-ad-revenue" business model is booming right now. It's basically the new Ebaumsworld.
I realize that trying to police copyright infringement on the internet is like strolling into the Vietnamese jungle circa 1964 and politely asking everyone to use squirt guns.
I know that if FunnyJunk disappeared fifty other clones would pop up to take its place overnight,
but I felt I had to say something about what they're doing.
you should too *update* read below.
The admin of FunnyJunk has responded, details here.
FunnyJunk is now threatening to file a federal lawsuit against me unless I pay him $20,0000: details here.