There has been a lot of press about the lawsuit filed against The Oatmeal. Sure, Funnyjunk took Inman’s work without his permission and infringed in a very big way and sure, their attorney seems to be, shall we say, a bit extreme in his reactions, but none of this had to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not excusing either the infringement or the lawyer’s actions; but rather, I believe that you can avoid a lot of legal-related ugliness if you do two things:
Pursue infringements through proper legal means;
Don’t react publicly, especially not like he did.
Inman chose not to seek the legal protections he had available when his work was originally infringed (he is not a strong-copyright supporter, so this isn’t too surprising). Instead he published a very public (and arguably funny) rant about being ripped-off. This was like throwing gas on the fire and wasn’t necessary.
If you find your work is infringed, do not try to do what Inman did. You could easily be looking at a defamation suit (whether or not you actually defame the infringer or its attorney) or worse. Words published in haste can come back to bite you in the ass–some you may intend as funny or over-the-top could be interpreted as threats, even. You just do not want to go there.
That also means you shouldn’t discuss your case on social media, at all. That tweet or Facebook post becomes evidence against you. You might even blow attorney/client confidentiality by what you post.
Overall, it’s just not worth trying to out the badguys like that, even with humor. Instead, keep registering your work and call your attorney when you find it’s being infringed.
By the way, this is not legal advice and is offered for educational and informational purposes only. Talk to your own lawyer for real legal advice. And yes, I really do have to say that.