In my last article, I told you about how Marietta Georgia author, poet and copyright troll Linda Ellis had launched a smear campaign against April Brown in an attempt to intimidate her into not publishing her upcoming book, “Poetic Justice”. Since then, Brown has received wide-ranging support from the community with contributing articles from myself, Matthew Chan of ExtortionLetterInfo (ELI) and Defiantly.net and others. When all of this started three years ago, April Brown was the only one out there spreading the word to current and potential victims until she reached out to Chan and ELI. Since 2008, ELI offers information and support for victims of settlement demand letters. April started sharing information about Ellis, her poem and extortion settlement demand letter program and things really started taking off. Ellis had as much, if not more, information about her heavy-handed copyright operation showing up in Google search results as she did of her own information. Before April Brown started leading the charge to gather information and post it on ELI, I don’t think Ms. Ellis had ever really faced any real opposition from her victims. More and more victims started coming forward telling their stories and sharing their experiences of dealing with Ellis.
In this article, I am going chronicle Ellis’ attacks on Matthew Chan. Chan, known for his blunt,
outspoken, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it is style of writing, was also contributing posts and information on The Dash demand letter scheme. Ellis, who was doing everything she could to silence Brown and started focusing on Chan as well. Chan started posting copies of Ellis’ settlement demand letters, willingly provided by the victims themselves for all to see. Parody pictures of Ellis also started to appear on the site. Ellis first tried to send DMCA takedown notices to ELI’s Scribd account, claiming the letters were copyrighted. Of course, this tactic failed and the posted letters remained. Her scheme only works as long as there is no information for victims to find and educate themselves. Of course, she does not want it known that she charges a $7,500 “retroactive licensing fee” for a poem she sells online for $2.99. A confidentiality agreement forbidding victims from saying anything about what was done to them is also required. Ms. Ellis used to make victims post a pre-written public apology to her in place of the poem. This was stopped after Ellis realized this is where April was finding many of her victims for their stories.
She next started sending complaints to Chan’s web hosting provider claiming that the ELI website was in violation of their Terms of Service. Ellis claimed Chan and others were physically threatening her safety and posting personal information. This caused a rift in the relationship between Chan and his web hosting provider and Matthew decided it would be best to move ELI to a new web host.
ELI was moved and Chan had ELI up a very short while when Ellis tried the same thing with the new web hosting provider. Fortunately, the new web host was willing to look at the posts, take everything in context, and saw there was no merit to the claim and refused to take action. All the while this was going on, Ellis was making posts on her Facebook page, generally leaving them up for a day or two and sometimes only for a matter of minutes before removing them. You will see screen capture after screen capture of these posts and the comments made by Ellis and her “Frans” (friend and fan) when April’s book is released.
Shortly after her latest attempt to silence ELI and Chan had failed, Ellis tried a new tactic. She filed a complaint with the Muscogee County court (where Chan lives) asking for a temporary protection order against Chan claiming he was stalking her and making personal threats towards her. At first, Chan and the ELI community couldn’t believe their eyes. A stalking complaint? Really? How can there be a claim of stalking when the defendant has never directly contacted, spoken with, or emailed the alleged victim? In fact, the only way for Ellis to read any of the posts was for her to physically log into Chan’s ELI site and search for posts about her. If the posts were read in context, anyone could see there was no physical threat implied, the threat was to simply expose and release information gathered, called doxxing.
On the day of the hearing, Chan represented himself pro se while Ellis had attorney Elizabeth W. McBride to represent her. During the trial, snippets of posts were entered into evidence claiming Chan was threatening Ellis. Snippets of other users’ posts were also entered and Chan was held accountable for the other users post as well. In total there were 9 posts (5 of which were Chan’s) out of 1,900+ that Ellis said showed Chan was stalking and threatening her. Ellis took the stand and testified with tears in her eyes that she was afraid Chan was going to come to her house and physically harm her and her family. She claimed she was so afraid she had to keep the curtains drawn. The judge listening to Ellis’ testimony and looking only at the snippets presented and not reading the entire post for context ordered an overbroad and overreaching ruling. The judge granted a permanent protection order (lifetime) stating that Chan could not contact Ellis (even though he never had) and he must remove all 1,900+ posts from the ELI website that dealt with Ellis even though the complaint was less than 10 posts in total. He signed an order that neither Chan may not mention Ellis’ name on the ELI website ever again or Chan faced possible jail time.
Oh, and when I said that I and others agreed the ruling was overbroad and over reaching I meant MANY others. See the bottom of the article for a list of clickable articles.
Here is where the story of Ellis and Chan starts to get very interesting. What does Ellis do within a week of the ruling? Remember, this is the woman who was on the stand crying tears stating she was allegedly in fear for her life and personal safety. She was allegedly afraid of what Chan would do to her and her family having to stay inside with the curtains drawn. She immediately dedicates an entire taunt page on her website proclaiming Matthew Chan as a stalker with a permanent protection order against him. She also started including in her settlement demand emails that you should not seek advice or any information from Chan, ELI, or Brown because it is run by a man convicted of stalking her. It was not true that he was “convicted”. She also made posts repeatedly on her Facebook page encouraging her “Frans” to join in the taunts. These are the actions of a woman doing her victory dance after silencing one of her biggest critics and the cause of an interruption to her extortion letter scheme/income, not the actions of woman in fear of her and her family’s safety. The last thing ANYONE would do if they were legitimately afraid that someone was out to physically harm them and threaten their personal safety would be to start taunting them. She was doing it because she could and she knew that Chan was not able to make any posts countering the claims. She had succeeded in her goal of silencing Chan and ELI and we saw an increase in the demand letters being sent from Ellis. This is how ELI knew about the “warnings” that started appearing in her demand letters. Little did Linda know this actually sent more people to ELI for help since Ellis told them exactly where to go for information.
Chan did not sit back and take this lying down, he quickly filed an appeal on the grounds the stalking law was not applicable in this case and First Amendment issues for silencing free speech. The first Georgia appeals court ruled that there were unique first impression constitutional issues with this case and sent it to the Georgia Supreme Court. The story of the lower court’s ruling started getting out and the story was covered by many in the media (see below). All the articles except for one in the Marietta Daily Journal and a PDN article supported Chan.
As Chan began preparing for his oral argument date before the Georgia Supreme Court, many people started rallying around him offering him moral support, legal defense funds as well as offering to write amicus curiae briefs and/or appear before the court on his behalf.
When the oral argument date finally arrived on October 7, 2014, Ellis showed up with her lawyer Elizabeth W. McBride and with an amicus brief against Chan, Getty Images outside counsel and copyright troll lawyer, Timothy B. McCormack.
Matthew Chan had representing him, well-known and respected New York lawyer, ELI legal advisor and copyright attorney Oscar Michelen, Darren Summerfield, UCLA law professor and First Amendment legal scholar, Eugene Volokh, along with an amicus brief in support of Chan from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). In addition to Chan’s legal defense team, he also had his ELI support team members who came in from all over the country to show support for Chan. In attendance, were support team Members April Brown, Robert Krausankas, myself, and Stinger (another ELI member). I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Ellis for bringing us together as this was the first time we had all met in person and worked together other than through email, phone calls and video conferences.
With the help of Darren Summerfield and Eugene Volokh, Emory Law School donated their mock court room to us
the night before to hold a moot court.
If you would like to see, and judge for yourself, any of the documents relating to this case, click the link. You may also see the video of the oral arguments and again judge for yourself. We are still waiting for the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision but we are VERY optimistic about the outcome.
Ellis is once again attacking Chan, this time for publicly supporting April Brown and her book release. She is doing what she does best, taking snippets of information without the full context to make Chan look bad an discredit him. She has taken a 30-minute video of Chan and fellow ELI team member, Robert Krausankas, talking about The Dash, Linda Ellis and her extortion scheme. She has selectively edited it down to a one-minute rant of Chan cursing and ranting about Ellis. If you watch the video (language warning) that she posted, it does appear extremely hostile and threatening. But if you watch the video without her selective edits (language warning) it becomes clear that it is not at all what Ellis is implying and there is no threat of physical harm. This video is edited down to about 4 minutes from the original 33-minutes, it includes the statements Ellis edited out that put the comments in context.
She also posted a video, which in true Ellis form, was only left up for two days before taking it down most likely due to a YouTuber calling her out on it. She found an old video of Matthew Chan testing his webcam. You could see him sitting at his desk from the shoulders up and it was apparent he was not wearing a shirt. The clip she chose to show was only 15 seconds long showing him looking at his monitor and moving his head from side-to-side obviously to see if the video was streaming. Linda Ellis put this is the description of her version of the video:
“This is the man against whom I received a Permanent Protective Order. Not sure what’s going on in the video… It was posted in the wee hours of the morning. Ick.”
At the right-hand side of the screen you can see were Ellis tried to crop off the title and description but you can clearly see twice it says “test” and “test2”. Of course, Ellis could see the whole description and knew exactly what it was, yet she chose to edit the video to look as if something sexual was going on again to smear Chan’s reputation.
These are the same tactics she used with the lower court to get the permanent protective order. In this video from the Georgia Supreme Court oral argument hearing, you see Ellis’ attorney Elizabeth W. McBride talking about a photo that appeared on the ELI website that Ellis claimed was threatening and “sexually explicit”. Here is Oscar Michelen explaining the photo (which should be obvious to anyone). And here is Mr. Michelen putting another one of the alleged “threats” into the actual and proper context.
I have many, many more examples, documents, emails and victim statements to back up everything stated here. I think it is quite apparent that Ms. Ellis twists, distorts facts, and flat out lies, doing anything she can to try and hold onto her extortion letter scheme. You will be able to see all of these documents, emails, and victim stories when Ms. Brown’s book is released. The release has been delayed, again, due to more victims coming forward at the last minute wanting their stories told. Ms. Ellis can do and say all she wants to try to intimidate Ms. Brown into not releasing her book and Mr. Chan into silence but I can assure you this will not work.
I do not understand why she does this as her lies are so easily unraveled and with every attack more victims and supporters rally to April and Matthew. Likewise, I see just the opposite in Ellis’ camp, it appears some of her supporters are starting to distance themselves from her, at least online. I have yet to see one article supporting her written by anyone other than Linda herself. I have seen nothing from her attorney Elizabeth W. McBride, from her copyright enforcer, John W. Jolin. The silence is deafening coming out of Seattle, Washington where it appears Timothy “God-willing” McCormack has gone silent after his poor performance before the Georgia Supreme Court. Mr. McCormack has been trying to silence Matthew Chan even longer than Linda Ellis, but that is another story and article, so stay tuned.
I only wish I was able to have theme music playing while you read this article. I think a perfect theme song for Ellis would be Meghan Trainor’s “Your Lips Are Moving” which goes……. “If your lips are moving then you lie, lie lie”. So I guess I will sit back and see what Linda has to say next and if it’s twisted or not in context. I will be back with much more. Ellis likes to make statements but I have yet to see any evidence supporting her claims (because there is none) that she has that is not heavily edited or cropped. Unlike copyright trolls who need secrecy to thrive Chan, Brown, ELI and myself all believe in being transparent and showing you full documents and trusting the reader is smart enough to decide the facts for themselves.
Daily Report (October 8, 2014) [Requires Registration to view]
Justices Explore if Internet Speech Can Be Stalking by Alyson M. Palmer
Washington Post – Volokh Conspiracy (September 9, 2014)
Harvard Journal of Law & Technology Digest (July 30, 2014)
Restraining Order Abuse (July 23, 2014)
Ars Technica (July 21, 2014)
Fight Copyright Trolls (July 17, 2014)
Digital Medial Law Project (DMLP)
Chan v. Ellis (Last updated November 5, 2013)
Alex Jones’ InfoWars (March 27, 2013)
Court Ruling Threatens Internet First Amendment Freedom. by Kurt Nimmo
Alex Jones’ Prison Planet (March 27, 2013)
Court Ruling Threatens Internet First Amendment Freedom. by Kurt Nimmo
Daily Dot (March 27, 2013)
Court hits anti-copyright-troll website with censorship order by Kevin Collier
Ars Technica (March 27, 2013)
Techdirt (March 27, 2013)
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Deeplinks (March 26, 2013)
Fight Copyright Trolls (March 23, 2013)