April's book is a must read for anyone who has received a settlement demand letter. This book documents how the innocent sharing of an inspirational poem on her blog page resulted April being dragged into the world of copyright infringement settlement demand letters also called copyright extortion letters.Some content producers search the internet for their works and when they find them they send out settlement demand letters demanding thousands of dollars for the infringement along with the threat of legal action if immediate payment is not made.
April fought back and her story is told and documented in this book. You will be amazed at what she went through, it will make you think twice before ever hitting the share button again.
Wow - quite an eye opener - posters beware! I've been reading April Brown Auctioneer 's book Poetic Justice and getting an education. I think so many of us (especially those of us working in long term care) have heard the poem "The Dash", author Linda Ellis. Apparently there is a whole world out there of "copyright trolls" and it is quite ugly - Linda Ellis included.
The poem is about how you live your life - the dash between your birthdate and date of death on a gravestone. Linda Ellis secured a copyright for the poem "The Dash" in 1998, although there are many who have said they heard the poem when they were young..... That's probably another investigation for another time.
In a nutshell, April Brown shared "The Dash" on a blog, only to receive basically an extortion letter, stating that Ms. Ellis could sue her for $150,000 plus attorney fees for copyright infringement because she didn't get permission to share it. (Note: I always believed if the author was credited that this was OK - apparently not.) Ms. Ellis' letter stated that Ms. Brown needed to send her $7500 within 10 days to settle.
April Brown started researching and what she learned was heartbreaking. Ms. Ellis was sending this letter to ministers who used her poem in their sermons and newsletters, to families grieving the loss of children, spouses, because they had either used the poem in the funeral program, or a friend had posted it on the family blog, and non-profits who shared with their employees in a newsletter, funeral homes, and so on.
Can you believe it? The intent of the poem, the self-portrayed caring, spiritual author of the poem, wow just wow.
I haven't read the whole book yet, but so far have been surprised to see the vendetta leashed against Ms. Brown and others who decided to take a stance against the internet trolling to locate victims who are receiving these extortion letters. Attacks have included letters from Ms. Ellis to April Brown's ex-husband, calls to his employer, calls to Ms. Brown's neighbors - and yet she sued for "internet stalking" against the publisher of a blog where others discussed Ms. Ellis and this despicable practice of copyright trolling. Fortunately that case was unanimously overturned by the Georgia State Supreme Court. I admire April Brown for standing her ground and helping others, and many others working with her.
I continue to be dismayed and disillusioned by those who claim to be good people, often spiritual people, but don't care who they hurt. So many times we all hear the Bible misquoted "Money is the root of all evil". The true language is "The LUST of money is the root of all evil". This is the only explanation I have for this kind of extortion
The internet can be a complicated and strange space while at the same time it can greatly enhance our society and our lives. Our legal system is also a complicated and strange space that our society depends on. Ms. Brown does a fantastic job distilling the complexities of both the internet and the legal system in this page-turner (a compliment in my book, no pun intended). Ms. Brown also shines a bright light on some of the darker people on the net including Linda Ellis who clearly tried to extort money from the author and draws a bright line between right and wrong. Ms. Brown presents a lot of complicated material in a way so that those that consider themselves "newbie" can enjoy a well told story and learn a lot. She is able to do this because she boils everything down to basic human behavior. You will hear stories that should make your skin crawl about how loved-ones of 9/11 victims were extorted, how her husband was harassed and then "flirted" with by Linda Ellis. There is a lot of intrigue in this book and also some excellent advice on how to deal with the trolls we all encounter both online and "in the real world". A very good read.
By Matthew Chan on June 29, 2015
The Very First Book on Copyright Extortion and the Dash Poem.
As a disclaimer and full disclosure, I am one of the “characters” frequently mentioned in April Brown’s new book but I am also a legitimate buyer / customer of the book because I advanced purchased the book at full price directly from April to support this project.
I can confidently say for myself and many others, that no one ever imagined the Dash Poem would affect so many people in unexpected ways. Since 2012, I have watched April Brown’s personal journey and becoming, by default, the most outspoken victim advocate on behalf of the “Dash Poem Extortion” victims I have ever seen. It is the premise of “Poetic Justice.” And “Poetic Justice” is also the culmination of her personal journey through this.
When you do Google searches on the “Dash Poem Extortion” all roads point to April Brown. It is inescapable simply because no one has taken on the role of victim advocate as vocally as April has. Linda Ellis wrote a poem in the mid-1990’s that has been mentioned in countless websites and media sources. In today’s vernacular, it would be called a “viral” poem. But that viral poem has a very dark and ugly side to it.
If you share the poem on your website, you run the high risk of becoming a victim of the “Dash Poem Copyright Extortion”. What is truly amazing is this “extortion” operation is run by only two people operating from their respective homes. And yet, the terror and fear they strike into so many people and organizations is astounding. April thoroughly describes the details in her book.
I have reported and spoken out on the issue of copyright extortion since 2008. But until 2012, I never knew there was such a thing as “poem copyright extortion”. In fact, I was initially skeptical of April’s claims and didn’t believe that such a small operation run by a housewife could paralyze so many people and organizations into silence and fear that they do and successfully generate tens of thousands of dollars per year for Linda. Again, April describes the beginnings of the community that would become her friends and allies as a victims’ advocate.
My early role in this is that I extended April a communication platform and invitation to my online community. I then attempted (without much success) to be a victim advocate for “Dash Poem Extortion” victims. It turns out I was not a good victims’ advocate in this situation because I did not relate to this particular group of victims’ irrational fears where I was publicly critical of their cowardice. But April was the one constant throughout the months and years.
In my one attempt to directly assist a victim from a $100,000 extortion letter in 2012, I inadvertently placed myself in the line of fire. Because of my very outspoken writings that allegedly “threatened” Linda, Linda took legal action against me in February 2013 in a way no one ever foresaw. April describes the legal drama that would unfold in the next two years.
April, already unhappy with being a victim and hearing dozens of victim stories, suddenly watched in horror, disgust, and anger that I (a friend, supporter, ally, and online community leader) become “victimized” by Linda. Linda utilized the local court and a court order to shut down the one important communication platform April and many others used to share information with others about the “Dash Poem extortion”. April suddenly became the lone victims’ advocate again, publicly.
After battling through two appellate courts for two long years, I ultimately prevailed. Behind-the-scenes out of the public eye, April was there and she is one of the most important allies and supporters I had during this time. She watched it all happen and describes it all from her perspective. Of course, my portion of the story is one small piece among many people’s stories told in the book.
The “Poetic Justice” book is about April’s journey and her story. It is the very first book that discusses the phenomenon of copyright extortion. April writes her accounts and stories of the many people who have intersected and come into her life. She shares her experiences in fighting Linda, the “Dash Poem copyright extortion”, her personal observations and opinions of Linda, and ultimately brings the seemingly array of unrelated people and events together into one compelling narrative.
Even though I was there for certain portions described in her book, it is still fascinating to read her accounting of all the disparate, intertwining events since 2011. It is worth your time to read this book. I recommend it. I think you will be amazed, angered, shocked, and surprised by the revelations as it relates to the famous (and now also infamous) Dash Poem.