Copyright Troll squelches Free Speech

ELI founder Matthew Chan has been hit with a Permanent Protection Order for “Stalking” exposed copyright troll Linda Ellis, even though he has never met, spoken too, emailed, telephoned or texted her.. This PPO is clearly stepping on not only Chan’s first amendment rights, but also those of the ELI community. I think it’s safe to say that 90% of the posts in the currently  offline Linda Ellis forum were not even written by Chan. There is sure to be a shit storm over this in FREE SPEECH circles…COMMENTARY IS WELCOME!

In the meantime we await an official press release to be distributed.

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STALKING PERMANENT PROTECTIVE ORDER

A hearing was held on this matter on February 28, 2013 at which the Respondent appeared and was provided with the opportunity to be heard and the Petitioner requested, pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-94 (e) and 19-13-4 (c), that a permanent Protective Order be issued. Having heard the evidence presented, reviewed the petition and the record concerning this case for good cause shown, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND ADJUGED:

1. The Respondent has knowingly and willfully violated O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-90 et seq. and placed the Petitioner in reasonable fear for the Petitioner’s safety, because Respondent contacted the Petitioner (and urged others to contact Petitioner) and posted personal information of the Petitioner for the purpose of harassing and intimidating Petitioner (1.)  As the owner and operator of the site, Respondent has the ability to remove posts in his capacity as the moderator. However, Respondent chose not to remove posts that were personally directed at Ms. Ellis and would cause a reasonable person to fear for her safety. Because the Respondent’s course of conduct was directed at Ms. Ellis through the posted messages and information relating to Ms. Ellis, and the conduct was intended (and in fact did) create fear and intimidation of the Petitioner, Respondent is hereby ORDERED to remove all posts relating to Ms. Ellis. Respondent is hereby enjoined and restrained from doing or attempting to do, or threatening to do any act constituting a violation of O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-90 et seq. and of harassing, interfering, or intimidating the Petitioner or Petitioner’s immediate family. Any future acts committed by the Respondent towards the Petitioner which are in violated of this statute and this Protective Order can amount to AGGRAVATED STALKING, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 16-5-91, which is a felony. A person convicted of Aggravated Stalking shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years and by a fine of not more than $10,000.00.

(1) Respondent is the owner and operator of the website ExtortionLetterinfo.com (“site”) which was used to stalk Ms. Ellis by harassing and intimidating her and encouraging other visitors of the site to do so as well.

2. Respondent is permanently enjoined and restrained from approaching within 1000 yards of Petitioner and Petitioner’s immediate family, and residence, place of employment, or school or subsequent residence, place of employment or school.

3 Respondent is not to have any contact of any type, direct, indirect, or through another person with the Petitioner, her immediate family, including but not limited to: telephone, fax, email, voicemail, mail, texting, spoofing, Facebook and other forms of social media, or any other type of contact.

4. That this order be filed in the office of the Clerk of this Court.

5. This Order shall remain in effect permanently and shall not terminate unless modified by the Court.

6. That this Order applies in every county throughout the state and it shall be the duty of every court and every law enforcement official to enforce and carry out the provisions of this Order pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-94 (e) and 19-13-4 (d). Law enforcement may use their arrest powers pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-91 and 17-4-20 to enforce the terms of this Order.

7. That this Court determined that it had jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter under the law of the State of Georgia and Respondent received reasonable notice and had the opportunity to be heard before this Order was issued sufficient to protect the Respondent’s due process rights and this Order shall be presumed valid and pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2265 (a) shall be accorded full faith and credit by any other state of local jurisdiction and shall be enforced as if an Order of the enforcing state or jurisdiction.

So ORDERED this 4th day of March, 2013 nunc pro tunc to February 28, 2013.

HONORABLE FRANK J. JORDAN JR.

SUPERIOR COURT OF MUSCOGEE COUNTY

CHATTAHOOCHEE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

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3 Comments

  1. How in the world can a court issue a PPO against a defendant who has never personally met, or even spoken with the plaintiff? What’s more, how can that PPO stifle the defendant’s free speech rights and the free speech rights of everyone who follows his digital forum?

    Something seems terribly inbred about this verdict.

  2. This is, indeed, very disturbing. If an individual or a group can silence a critic by claiming the criticism made them “fear for their safety,” free speech goes out the window. My understanding is that Matthew Chan never had any direct contact with Linda Ellis. Zero phone calls or direct emails. He was very critical of her extortion scheme where she tried to get bereaved family members to pay her a $7500 fee for publishing her poem on memorial web sites and newsletters.

    The difficulty is that Linda Ellis IS the company entity and the “brand” that seems to be pursuing these cases. So criticism of Linda Ellis, the entity that threatens to sue people for infringing on her poem, got re-framed as Linda Ellis the individual person.

    In any case, it is my understanding that Linda Ellis never once asked Matthew Chan to remove objectionable content.

    It is my opinion that the judge got it so completely wrong. I hope Matthew Chan decides to file an appeal.

  3. On what grounds can the Judge rule that “Respondent is hereby ORDERED to remove all posts relating to Ms. Ellis”? As I understand things Ms Ellis claimed that she felt threatened by a small number of posts. I could understand if the judge, in his misguided wisdom, were to rule that the offending posts were taken down, but to remove ALL posts (presumably including any future posts) is an attack on everyone’s freedom of speech. The ELI website and forums is probably the number one place on the internet to share experiences and get valuable information regarding copyright trolls. To be unable to request help and advice and to be unable to tell of your own personal encounters with a copyright troll is clearly a great injustice. The judge has got this totally wrong.

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