The following is the screed that was on https://www.mushroom.com
for the better part of today before being pulled. For historic value, I have
posted my archived copy. Since Mr. Murphy is apparently the litigious sort, I
have changed every occurrence within the text of the word "Mushroom"
with the words "Ricky Martin". It's the least I could do for these two
great Americans. With that, we give you:
BACK TO RICKY MARTIN
It really sucks that I
have to write this...
When I started this site, I did so to have some fun and poke some fun at the industry. I had never seen a "fake gaming news" site, and figured, "Since I've never seen it, I guess I'll just have to make it."
I was waiting for my flight to depart Atlanta, and I came up with the above idea. But what could I call it? It'd be like The Onion, which is, in my opinion, the funniest Internet site there is, but it'd be about games.
Hmm. What would be good?
After a few seconds, it just came to me. "Ricky Martin." Perfect. It'd be a tribute to The Onion, while being Mario's power-up. I wouldn't have to worry about lawsuits because if The Onion is fake, Ricky Martin would obviously be too.
To this day, I still get hate mail for "ripping off" The Onion. Yeah, The Onion is so good that it can parody others, but cannot be parodied itself. If people don't like this site, I don't give a shit. Really. There are a million other sites out there. Go.
Now, about a year later, I have been accused of stealing graphics and HTML from The Onion.
This site was 100% designed in Macromedia Dreamweaver. All the images used herein are thought to be either public domain, or they fall under the "fair use" clause, or they were taken by our staff.
Monday, I found that a "competitor" to Ricky Martin, National Game Review, used one of our images in one of their stories.
I once did a parody of Iliad's User Friendly comic. I took some of his images, took the words out, and typed in my own.
Hours later, I was emailed by Iliad, who very politely asked me to take them down. I did. I asked him why me doctoring his images was wrong. He explained that if he lets me do it, then he has set a precedent, and then virtually anyone can use his images without paying him. If we draw the images ourselves, however, then we're fine.
So we did.
Now, I'm worried about the same thing Iliad was worried about. So, I sent the guys at NGR the following email:
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 13:40:48 -0700 (PDT)
Please take down the picture used at
It was stolen directly from our Web site, and you have no permission to
This is what I got in return:
we'd like to take it down, but its just too hilarious. Let me introduce
As our friends in Degeneration X like to say, suck it.
I'd like to think my letter was pretty professional. Theirs was, until they said "suck it." It's a bad idea to use that term when someone you disagree with may want to take legal action against you.
So, I went to the site they cited, and sent a letter to their contact person, asking how they could steal from me legally. I read the paragraph, and it didn't seem to make sense to me. I got this reply:
Your e-mail was forwarded to the First Amendment Center's research
The situation you describe falls more into the copyright area. I suggest
I also suggest you contact the American Institute of Graphic Artists
So, I kindly forwarded those comments to NGR, who still have not commented on it.
Then, I get an email from a fan of ours asking what we did to Old Man Murray. I went to their site, and saw some them bashing us. It was just last week that I had a pretty friendly email exchange with one of their staff! In their trashing of us, they accused this site of stealing HTML from the Onion.
This is what I wrote to them (and notice they didn't print this letter!):
It's really disappointing to me that I had some friendly e-mail exchanged
First off, NGR's satire of us is fine. They can run satire of us all day
What we do have a problem with is their use of our image. They can run a
I did a parody of Iliad's User Friendly comic strip a few issues ago. I
I was contacted by him within a matter of hours. He asked me to remove
He told me that if we draw them ourselves, then we are legally in the
So, I took down the comics, had them drawn, and uploaded them a few days
I do not see why I'm getting blasted by your site for defending my
As far as the similar look of Ricky Martin and the Onion, well...I did all
As for your comments on Rob Budrick's article, I'm not him, so I can't
Thank you for your time, and I really hope you can see our side on this,
After thinking a bit, I sent this:
While it is ok that you are using the picture from our site, it's not OK
Please remove the line that says, "Actual Unfunny site:
I feel like a prick, but I know my media law, and you cannot say that The
I knew I was inviting them to make fun of me and this site, but I didn't care. Isn't it weird, how NGR steals from me, yet *I'm* accused of stealing?
Finally, just a few minutes ago, I got this from NGR:
This was not a smart thing to put on your site (ed's note: they are referencing this):
"Ahead of me were a bunch of hacks from one of our competitors, the
Its incorrect, the youngest person with us was 24, and the 'frightened'
Do you honestly believe I am afraid that you will get the law involved in
You placed an article about "how nobody treated us with respect at E3,
Fucking with National Game Review is a really really bad idea, I hope you
As a close to this episode, I feel I must quote a good friend of mine
Well, obviously, we were not libeling them because that whole article was full of half-truths. It's not our fault you have to have a reading-comprehension above most third graders to understand what's going on.
So, why have I written this? Well, I feel a need to defend this site. Our writers do a damned good job, I think. And we're the only satire site headed by a true journalist (just ask any of the other webmasters where they got their Stylebook, and see if they even know what you're takling about.)
We've been accused of stealing ideas and bits and pieces of other stories as well. Rest assured, it's never happened. I've had my work stolen before, and I know what it feels like. Neither my staff, nor myself, would ever do that to anyone else, ever.
The other thing is that I wanted to show you how unprofessional everyone else is to us. I will admit, I've let my emotions get the better of me in some of my email exchanges with NGR and OMM, but only after they've been completely unprofessional with me first.
Obviously, both NGR and OMM have no respect for copyright or libel laws. That's sad, because when they want legitimate work, they won't be able to get it. But then again, if we, like Edd Schneider at NGR, didn't use our names on this site, we might be more tempted to disregard others' intellectual properties.
So, I wanted to let all of you who got here from OMM know the truth. I've tried to balance it here. I think I've presented both sides of the argument, and I really want to know what you think. Drop me a line, only if you can be halfway intelligent about it.
It's really discouraging. I didn't start this site to make enemies, I did it because I genuinely wanted to show my love for this industry and the people in it, and I show my love for people by making fun of them. It may be twisted, but it's me.
So, there's the whole story. Now, I'm getting back to my life for a while.
BACK TO RICKY MARTIN