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  "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"
Edmund Burke

Copyright Extortion

Let us begin by defining the word extortion:

Extortion (Black's Law Dictionary - 6th Edition) is defined as:

"The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right."

Property can be money as well many other things. .

We have long documented corporate lawyers using the "fear" of being hauled into federal court to demand money from alleged infringers. While there are numerous real infringers out there, we document those we believe are using extortion as a source of revenue. And, they don't have to send Guido to your place to breaka you arms. We call these companies and their lawyers Copyright Extortionists.

The first Copyright Extortionist we heard about was Wiley Publishing, in New York, and there are many more. While copyright owners must "police" the marketplace for infringing competition, it is a cost of doing business, much like liability insurance, a copy machine, or a break area with coffee machine. And, in this expanded age of the internet, many alleged infringers that the corporate lawyer for Wiley Publishing dredges up are small fry who are not aware they are infringing. A lot of small fry who cannot afford the extortion demands and who find themselves being sued. Why sued? So the corporate lawyer for Wiley Publishing can pad his bill.

One of the most incideous examples of copyright extortion we have encountered is the Embroidery Software Protection Coalition or "ESPC". The ESPC claims to have sent out extortion demand letters that total in the millions of dollars, most to work at home moms ("WAHM), casual sewers, aunts and grandmothers. The ESPC lies about copyright infringement and the penalties against the alleged infriners as a scare tactic.

Another incideous examples of copyright extortion we have encountered is the Business Software Alliance or "BSA". The BSA claims to be a "watchdog" for the industry but we consider it just another bunch of internet thugs.

The latest copyright extortionist we have found is a Las vegas-based company called Righthaven. It appears that they search for web sites that have newspaper quotes and/or articles on them, buy the rights to the articles and then sue the web site for copyright infringement.

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