Click Official ELI Links
Get Help With Your Extortion Letter | ELI Phone Support | ELI Legal Representation Program
Show your support of the ELI website & ELI Forums through a PayPal Contribution. Thank you for supporting the ongoing fight and reporting of Extortion Settlement Demand Letters.

Author Topic: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory  (Read 4854 times)

Matthew Chan

  • ELI Founder, "Admin-on-Hiatus"
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2763
  • 1st Amendment & Section 230 CDA Advocate
    • View Profile
    • Defiantly
Our own Oscar Michelen wrote a blog post concerning the recent NY Supreme Court appeals ruling in the case of "Melius vs. Glacken" that the word "extortionist" is NOT defamatory.

http://www.courtroomstrategy.com/2012/04/ny-court-rules-calling-someone-extortionist-is-not-defamatory/

Last year, ELI (through me and Oscar Michelen) came under attack, legally threatened, and accused of defamation by stock photo agency collection lawyers for using the word "extortion" in relation to their heavy-handed, bullying claims collection activities.

We had been threatened with legal action but have held firm to our position that the language we use is NOT defamatory. The reason for that is that our usage is classified as a colloquialism and rhetorical hyperbole.

Oscar wrote his defense letter defending our use of the term “legalized extortion”.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/72850099/Peter-T-Holt-Letter-to-Oscar-Michelen-Regarding-Extortion

I also wrote my defense letter regarding the term “legalized extortion”.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/72856278/Matthew-Chan-Response-to-Peter-T-Holt-Regarding-Extortion

The U.S. Supreme Court in the case of "Greenbelt Cooperative Publishing Association v. Bresler" has held that the word "blackmail" is also NOT defamatory and classified as rhetorical hyperbole.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Greenbelt_Cooperative_Publishing_Association_v._Bresler/Opinion_of_the_Court


"It is simply impossible to believe that a reader who reached the word 'blackmail' in either article would not have understood exactly what was meant: it was Bresler's public and wholly legal negotiating proposals that were being criticized. No reader could have thought that either the speakers at the meetings or the newspaper articles reporting their words were charging Bresler with the commission of a criminal offense. On the contrary, even the most careless reader must have perceived that the word was no more than rhetorical hyperbole, a vigorous epithet used by those who considered Bresler's negotiating position extremely unreasonable. Indeed, the record is completely devoid of evidence that anyone in the city of Greenbelt or anywhere else thought Bresler had been charged with a crime."


This same line of reasoning can be extended to the word "extortion".

What it all comes down to is: Would a "reasonable person" really consider whatever word/language (e.g. blackmail or extortion) being used to be interpreted literally as a criminal act? In most cases, the answer is no.

Threats of defamation are nearly impossible to legally substantiate when the use is widely considered cases of colloquialism and rhetorical hyperbole.

Oscar and I will continue to defend our First Amendment rights to free speech and communication here on ELI. We continue our mission to fight back against the "extortionist" activities that the stock photo and other similar media companies engage in.

As long as we don't make factual errors, we are free to say what we want and how we want.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 02:57:41 AM by Matthew Chan »
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

  • ELI Defense Team Member
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3354
    • View Profile
    • ExtortionLetterInfo
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2012, 08:30:24 PM »
I can't help but wonder what Peter Holt, Brandon Sand, Timothy McCormack, Julie Madonell Stewart, the "Photo Attorney" Carolyn Wright, Glen Carner from Hawaiian Art Network, and rest of the copyright infringement trolls that have been known to practice these extortion tactics feel about this?
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

SoylentGreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1503
    • View Profile
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 12:04:47 AM »
The fact that the copyright trolls even bother to be concerned about the semantics that are used to describe their "industry" illustrates how desperate they really are.

Unless the actual copyright owner is really "wronged" in some egregious way, the business of copyright trolling is a PR nightmare.
Attempts to "sanitize" the language used to describe their tactics would have little effect in improving their reputations in any event.

S.G.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 07:44:58 AM by Matthew Chan »

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

  • ELI Defense Team Member
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3354
    • View Profile
    • ExtortionLetterInfo
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2012, 03:51:49 PM »
And here is another reference to the word extortion being used in regardsto a Righthaven Case

"In a statement posted on its website Wednesday, VCDL said that Righthaven’s suit against it “was a form of legal extortion” in which VCDL suggested that Righthaven early on offered to settle in hopes of making a quick profit at the expense of VCDL."

http://www.vegasinc.com/news/2012/apr/26/nonprofit-seeks-donations-cover-righthaven-copyrig/
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Mulligan

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 451
    • View Profile
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2012, 05:13:34 PM »
Speaking of a term like "extortion" not being defamatory...

If a lawyer like Timothy B. McCormack had a son or daughter, I wonder if a conversation between him and said child would go something like this:

Child: Daddy, what do you do for a living?

Lawyer like TBMcC: I have an intellectual property law firm.

Child: Oh, you mean you protect the creations of artists from huge companies that don't pay the artists properly?

Lawyer like TBMcC: No, no, that's not what I mean. Actually I work for Getty Images, which is a huge company that has dramatically reduced what it pays its artists while exponentially increasing its extrajudicial business model used to extract outrageous payments from little mom and pop websites. And when these people won't pay, then Getty Images turns the work over to my law firm and we try to get even more money out of these nasty copyright infringers. We call them thieves!

Child: I thought copyright infringement was a civil matter?

Lawyer like TBMcC: Well, yes, it is. You know that, and I know that, but the people we send our letters to don't know it. And they send us more money when they think we can put them in jail because they are thieves. Do you understand?

Child: I think so... Daddy, you mean you try to extort even bigger sums of money from little mom and pop website owners?

Lawyer like TBMcC: (Gently) We don't call it extortion. We call it protecting the rights of our artists.

Child: Oh, you mean when you increase the demand for settlement from $750 to $2100, you're going to pay the photographer most of that money?

Lawyer like TBMcC: Not exactly. But I do have a paralegal who sends out our demand letters, and she's making almost eight dollars an hour.

Child: How much do you pay the artist when you scare someone out of $2100?

Lawyer like TBMcC: I can't tell you that. We sign confidentiality agreements keeping all the settlement terms secret forever.

Child: Daddy, are you a copyright troll?

Lawyer like TBMcC: No, no, no! I'm the head of a well-established and highly respected intellectual property law firm, and we do honest work! We punish nasty copyright infringers who post images on their websites without paying for them!

Child: Daddy, aren't there more than 80 billion images on the Internet? How can one image on one website be worth $2100?

Lawyer like TBMcC: Have they taught you about inflation in school yet?

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

  • ELI Defense Team Member
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3354
    • View Profile
    • ExtortionLetterInfo
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2012, 05:19:28 PM »
Holy shit mulligan!!! This is funny as hell, couple this with the cheesy "Mr Rogers" video that Timothy B. McCormack did and it's even better...classi, high fives to you my friend!
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Peeved

  • Guest
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2012, 05:28:16 PM »
HAHAHAHAHAHA! BIGGEST LAUGH OF THE DAY! BRAVO MULLIGAN!!!

LOVE IT!
 ;D ;D ;D

Bekka

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 88
    • View Profile
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2012, 08:24:48 PM »
LOL!  Make sure you register that one so no one can plagiarize it.  If so then you can sue, sue, sue, sue.

Matthew Chan

  • ELI Founder, "Admin-on-Hiatus"
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2763
  • 1st Amendment & Section 230 CDA Advocate
    • View Profile
    • Defiantly
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2012, 09:53:24 PM »
I would like to post this into our main ELI blog as our very first parody story post. Do you mind?

It is a freaking riot that I want others to read who don't come into the ELI forums.

Speaking of a term like "extortion" not being defamatory...

If a lawyer like Timothy B. McCormack had a son or daughter, I wonder if a conversation between him and said child would go something like this:

Child: Daddy, what do you do for a living?

Lawyer like TBMcC: I have an intellectual property law firm.

Child: Oh, you mean you protect the creations of artists from huge companies that don't pay the artists properly?

Lawyer like TBMcC: No, no, that's not what I mean. Actually I work for Getty Images, which is a huge company that has dramatically reduced what it pays its artists while exponentially increasing its extrajudicial business model used to extract outrageous payments from little mom and pop websites. And when these people won't pay, then Getty Images turns the work over to my law firm and we try to get even more money out of these nasty copyright infringers. We call them thieves!

Child: I thought copyright infringement was a civil matter?

Lawyer like TBMcC: Well, yes, it is. You know that, and I know that, but the people we send our letters to don't know it. And they send us more money when they think we can put them in jail because they are thieves. Do you understand?

Child: I think so... Daddy, you mean you try to extort even bigger sums of money from little mom and pop website owners?

Lawyer like TBMcC: (Gently) We don't call it extortion. We call it protecting the rights of our artists.

Child: Oh, you mean when you increase the demand for settlement from $750 to $2100, you're going to pay the photographer most of that money?

Lawyer like TBMcC: Not exactly. But I do have a paralegal who sends out our demand letters, and she's making almost eight dollars an hour.

Child: How much do you pay the artist when you scare someone out of $2100?

Lawyer like TBMcC: I can't tell you that. We sign confidentiality agreements keeping all the settlement terms secret forever.

Child: Daddy, are you a copyright troll?

Lawyer like TBMcC: No, no, no! I'm the head of a well-established and highly respected intellectual property law firm, and we do honest work! We punish nasty copyright infringers who post images on their websites without paying for them!

Child: Daddy, aren't there more than 80 billion images on the Internet? How can one image on one website be worth $2100?

Lawyer like TBMcC: Have they taught you about inflation in school yet?
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Mulligan

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 451
    • View Profile
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2012, 10:35:10 AM »
Matt, I'd be honored for you to add the post to the main page. Thank you for that.

And thanks to everyone who enjoyed reading that little dialogue between father and child. I enjoyed writing the piece very much.

Matthew Chan

  • ELI Founder, "Admin-on-Hiatus"
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2763
  • 1st Amendment & Section 230 CDA Advocate
    • View Profile
    • Defiantly
Re: NY Appellate Court Says: The term "Extortionist" is NOT Defamatory
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2012, 03:18:45 PM »
Thanks.  Feel free to write more parodies.

Matt, I'd be honored for you to add the post to the main page. Thank you for that.

And thanks to everyone who enjoyed reading that little dialogue between father and child. I enjoyed writing the piece very much.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

 

Official ELI Help Options
Get Help With Your Extortion Letter | ELI Phone Support Call | ELI Defense Letter Program
Show your support of the ELI website & ELI Forums through a PayPal Contribution. Thank you for supporting the ongoing fight and reporting of Extortion Settlement Demand Letters.