Court of appeals orders Georgia censorship case transferred to Georgia Supreme Court

Posted: July 17, 2014 by SJD in Linda Ellis
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Below is a press release by Oscar Michelen regarding a rather welcomed development in the Matthew Chan v. Linda Ellis appeal.

Last year I wrote about the overreach court order aimed at silencing Matthew Chan — the founder of the anti-troll community ExtortionLetterInfo (ELI). While ELI fights primarily against stock photo copyright trolls, the antagonist in this controversy is a self-proclaimed poet Linda Ellis, a heartless copyright troll who shakes down people that shared her “Dash” poem, mostly in the moments of mourning diseased loved ones.

In February 2013, Chan lost a case against Ellis where she charged him with allegedly stalking her, and posting her home address, family information, and death threats on ELI. However, many of those posts were made by third-party visitors to ELI, not Chan himself and neither Chan nor the website was ever requested to take down any of the allegedly offensive posts. Nevertheless, Ellis was awarded a sweeping Permanent Protective Order by the local court. That order, required among other things, a wholesale removal from ELI of all 2,000 posts by anyone that ever mentioned Ellis, her poem, or her business practices in any way.

This speech-chilling order was appealed, and now the case is unexpectedly being transferred to the Georgia Supreme Court, which, according to our friends, is a good sign:

 

In October 2013 one of the most notorious attorneys behind the Getty Images extortion racket (and, naturally, a persona of interest in the ELI community), Timothy McCormack of Seattle, filed an amicus curiae brief, quite an entertaining (in its cluelessness) read, which provokes the following question: is its author an ignoramus that has no clue what the First Amendment is about? The answer is an easy yes.

Make sure to read Oscar Michelen’s reply and decide for yourself: which one of the two documents — McCormack’s brief or Michelen’s reply — has been written by an actual attorney, and which one is a disturbing signal that passing the Bar exam is too easy in some states.

Media coverage
Comments
  1. […] Court of appeals orders Georgia censorship case transferred to Georgia Supreme Court […]

  2. Let me first say that I greatly appreciate the support and friendship SJD has shown towards what we do at ELI and our current legal battle. It is certainly a rough and tumble business writing about copyright extortionists and exposing their underhanded tactics. It has been interesting over the years to see repeated attempts to silence and suppress my outspoken commentary and opinions. Many of those attempts to silence me and otherwise damage my relationship with my online supporters/friends were done behind the scenes and not publicly reported. However, that will one day change. But there is no hiding from this legal battle now that this appear goes to the highest court of the state. It is my opinion that the outcome of this case will be read by many even those outside of Georgia.

    Since SJD has “broken the ice” regarding comparison reading of the “dueling legal briefs” between McCormack and Michelen, might I suggest a comparison reading between McBride (Ellis lawyer) and Michelen? You be the judge and decide for yourself who appears to be reaching and stretching the narrative and legal argument to unbelievable proportions and who appears to have a narrative and legal argument that is grounded in reality.

    As appellant, Oscar & I submitted the opening brief: http://www.scribd.com/doc/171338394/Chan-v-Ellis-Appellant-Brief-Memorandum-of-Law.

    As appellee, McBride & Ellis then submitted their reply brief: http://www.scribd.com/doc/178271895/Chan-v-Ellis-Appellee-Brief

    Finally, Oscar & I submit our rebuttal brief: http://www.scribd.com/doc/185346029/Chan-v-Ellis-Appellant-Reply-Brief

    It is not often that one has the opportunity to read legal briefs for an appeal. As all of you know, most copyright troll cases barely ever make it to an actual trial to begin with. However, I did go to trial and lost the case in the lower court. We will now see how the highest court in Georgia views First Amendment rights and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as it relates to website owners and forum administrators.

  3. auctionapril says:

    I applaud Matthew Chan, ELI, Oscar Michelen, FCT, and everyone who continues to take a PUBLIC stand against copyright trolls and their unethical and illegal practices. Linda Ellis may pretend she is a soft and delicate little ‘ole southern poet, but she is anything but. I will say here that Linda Ellis lied under oath. I have the proof to back that statement. The Georgia judge bought her lies hook, line and sinker. Lying is what trolls do. She is in bed with another liar, Timothy McCormack and he crawled in her bed so HE could get Matthew Chan one way or another to shut up. We have the right to tell the truth about copyright trolling and we have the right to expose copyright trolls. Greg Troy, author of the CABA Law (Copyright Anti-Bullying Act), is also one of those warriors whose work will one day be a law – much like the Fair Debt Collection law. Greg is just like the rest of us every day people who has had enough with the lying and cheating and stealing. One day these jerks will be on the run, PUBLICLY. No more hiding in the slimy dark. When a person can lie repeatedly and rob someone of their freedom of speech then it it is that person who needs to be censored, fined and jailed. The judge did the wrong thing to Matthew Chan. The Supreme Court needs to right this wrong.

    Copyright trolls need to understand that they are no longer someone we fear. We are united now. The housewife with the professor. The grandmother with the gamer. The whore with the nun. The law is already on our side and we will prevail. Period.

  4. We had originally asked for the transfer to Supreme Court so I was delighted to see the case go up to the Supreme Court. Most importantly the transfer order recognizes that this is a case of first impression in Georgia. Many states however are dealing with finding the right line between defamation and true threats and boisterous Internet speech, as well as how all of those things work in conjunction with 230 of the CDA.

  5. Dan says:

    It really is disturbing how badly both McCormack and McBride fail in their understanding of the fundamentals of First Amendment Law. Either that, or they’re just lying through their teeth. An order that says, “Don’t talk about $SUBJECT” is a content-based restriction, period. How narrowly-tailored it may (or may not) be with respect to time, place, and manner may be relevant to determining whether it’s a permissible restriction, but that does not render it content-neutral.

    The fact that both McCormack and McBride were able, within a few lines in their respective briefs, to say (1) the order is content-neutral; and (2) the order is narrowly-tailored, because it only prohibits postings about Linda Ellis, demonstrates a fundamental lack of either competence or honesty.

  6. Christenson says:

    Off topic, but did anyone else notice that Lipscomb’s blog reads like a link farm? Generic paragraphs (especially the ones about the UCC), grammatically correct, but devoid of details about actually having done any casework or won any cases?

    I was tempted to write and ask about the various disputes I have gotten into over the sale of a certain bridge in Brooklyn, but then my conscience pricked me…

    On topic, good luck in Georgia…changing the mind of the appeals court seems like a good sign. Time for me to go see what “first impression” means legally.

  7. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  8. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  9. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  10. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  11. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  12. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  13. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  14. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  15. Many of the trackback links are from automated blogs that have picked up the new Ars Technica story about my case. I encourage those of you interested to go to the comments section and read new information and context I am now beginning to share.

    1). My case has been docketed with the GA Supreme Court: http://www.gasupreme.us/docket_search/results_one_record.php?caseNumber=S14A1652

    2). I recently learned that the issue of “restraining order abuse” is actually quite rampant. There are two legal articles from respected law journals written on the subject. They were quite eye-opening. I thank RestrainingOrderAbuse.com for linking to these valuable resources.

    * Free Speech and Civil Harassment Orders by Aaron Caplan, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2141966

    * One-to-One Speech vs. One-to-Many Speech, Criminal Harassment Laws, and “Cyberstalking” by Eugene Volokh, http://www.law.northwestern.edu/lawreview/v107/n2/731/LR107n2Volokh.pdf

    3). It was a $100,000 extortion letter (not the $7,500 ones) that triggered the most recent outrage from folks right before the protective order kicked in. http://www.scribd.com/doc/115954324/Kalka-Baer-Linda-Ellis-100K-Settlement-Demand-Letter

    4). There is missing context to my “video” comments. What has not been said is that I am a web broadcaster with 400 videos/episodes produced thus far: http://vimeo.com/matthewchan. Many are personal but many are “business show” related. The cryptic reference to the videos was part of doing a 30-minute episode of “The ELI Factor” whereby we would go onsite (but not trespass) and do a onsite video report / commentary.

    Within the ELI Forums, the community knows what I am talking about when I mention videos because they know about “The ELI Factor” and I am a web broadcaster. However, reading isolated forum posts from the outside, I can see how they might sound a bit creepy.

    5). I never intended to be an advocate for First Amendment or Section 230 of the CDA because I never knew it could be trampled so badly at the local court level. And yet, here I am knee-deep in this appeal actively defending it (along with Oscar Michelen and many supporters) so that other website owners and forum administrators in Georgia (and perhaps outside Georgia) will have a good legal precedent.

  16. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  17. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  18. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

  19. […] Court of appeals orders Georgia censorship case transferred to Georgia Supreme Court by SJD […]

  20. […] broad order got the attention of other activists—bloggers like the author of Fight Copyright Trolls, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the Georgia order “overbroad and […]

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