The heated battle between April Brown, author of “Poetic Justice”, and Linda Ellis, of the infamous “Dash Poem Extortion Scheme” was recently reignited when April went public and began marketing her first book “Poetic Justice: The True Story of The Dash and One Woman’s Quest to End Copyright Extortion and Bullying”. Since January 7, 2015, Ellis has launched two websites (justfreespeech.com and lindalogic.com) in addition to directly confronting on April’s “Get Poetic Justice” Facebook page to deter April Brown from releasing her upcoming book.
April’s dispute with Ellis began in early 2012 when Ellis, without any warning, demanded thousands of dollars through an extortion letter from April for innocently sharing The Dash poem with her readers. Unlike the average cowardly and legally-ignorant Dash Poem extortion victim, April fought back by complaining loudly and publicly. It was one of April’s tweets from early 2012 that brought April and her plight to my attention as founder of ExtortionLetterInfo.com (ELI).
It was when I investigated April’s claims in 2012 did I find out more about the underlying details that most people would not ask for nor would they have access to. Unbeknownst to the public, April and Ellis engaged in heated email arguments where personal insults were traded. Those emails from 2012 have been made available on Greg Troy’s (ELI Team Member) website. Ellis made legal threats against April (which ultimately proved to be a bluff). Ellis contacted April’s husband and her business associates. Ellis also used the Google Adwords program to tarnish April’s online reputation. Understandably, April didn’t take kindly to Ellis’ over-the-top tactics to collect “damages” and it infuriated April more.
In 2012, I launched the Linda Ellis/Linda Lyrics/ Dash Poem Forum that gave April, the ELI Community, and other Dash Poem extortion letter victims an online platform to air their complaints and comments, share stories, and discuss strategies to combat the Dash Poem extortion letters. Unfortunately, this forum is not currently available. It was ordered shut down by an over-reaching stalking protective order issued by a small town judge that did not seem to understand how Section 230 of the CDA and the First Amendment applies to Internet speech. Using a court order to take that forum down upset April, among many others, greatly. (That over-reaching protective is currently under appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court and I expect a ruling within the next few months.)
April’s personal journey from receiving the Dash Poem extortion letter, the personal email arguments, Ellis aggressive tactics of taking down April’s YouTube account, becoming involved with ELI and the Dash Poem forum only to have it taken down by court order, counseling scores of Dash Poem extortion letter victims and listening to their plight, seeing all the victims’ emails received by Ellis’ “copyright henchman” John W. Jolin’s email communications, and watching me get dragged through the legal system and subsequent appeal, became all too much for April to bear and to sit silently. The seeming separate and disparate incidents in April’s life led her to the thought that she wanted to write a book about her personal journey, the legal danger of using the Dash Poem, and the plights and complaints from Dash Poem extortion letter victims.
Similar to myself, April’s personal journey and life experiences are more involved that what the general public knows. Only a small group of April’s supporters and friends know the larger story. Ellis seems to ignorantly believe that April is obsessed with her. Any author who chooses a subject to write and research on would reasonably immerse themselves and deeply research all the information available to them. Celebrity biographer, Kitty Kelly, spends months and years to research her subjects’ backgrounds, conduct personal interviews, compile stories, and organize information for her books. Would anyone consider what Kitty Kelly did for her book “obsessive”? What April is doing is no different except for the fact that April has had direct personal experience with Ellis and that Ellis did make a a personally, intrusive effort against April to collect monies for her extortion letter scheme.
Ellis will likely argue that she is not a public figure or celebrity. However, her poem has become a viral literary phenomenon since the mid-1990’s. And because of this, unsuspecting and well-intended sharers of her poem are, without any warning, being suddenly demanded to pay thousands of dollars of their ignorant, but generally well-intended sharing of the Dash poem. Ellis may not be a public figure, but her “no-warning, pay thousands of dollars for the sharing of a poem” absolutely SCREAMS for public attention and public warning. Hence, April’s very appropriate mantra and rallying cry against the legally-dangerous Dash Poem “BEWARE, DON’T SHARE!”
I explain all of this because April anticipates that the general public will dismiss the heated dispute between April and Ellis (two strong-willed but philosophically-opposite women) as a “catfight”. This heated dispute has both personal and professional dimensions that transcends a stereotypical “catfight” where two women are fighting over a male suitor. If it were only that simple. Philosophically, the two women come from very different life experiences, mindsets, and philosophies. Ellis publicly asserts she doesn’t understand April’s strong ill and hostile feelings towards her for pursuing “damages” from what is “rightfully” hers. The reality is that April’s ill feelings toward Ellis has accumulated over the years. While April has little concern about herself and the extortion letter she received from Ellis in 2012, the onslaught of cries, anger, and complaints from Dash Poem extortion letter victims, Ellis & Jolin’s various tactics to suppress information and victim complaints, efforts to shut down April’s YouTube account, my legal battle against Ellis, in addition to other personal events have greatly influenced April’s decision to publish this book.
Let me be clear, I am a biased party. I make no apologies for it. I am not a 3rd-party reporter but I do have access to information and April that most reporters will never get. I also understand and relate to April in many ways that many don’t. We are both entrepreneurial, passionate, no-nonsense, unconventional, rebellious, independent-minded, and not afraid of “putting it out there” when necessary. The fact of the matter is, at this early stage, no reporter gives a shit about this story because this is a non-story for most of the general public. But the label of “catfight” will inevitably come and this article is my response to that assertion.
I can hear it now, why doesn’t April just “let it go and go on with her life”? I can’t speak for April but I do have insights into her character and personality. Whether you agree with April or not is that her life experiences have shaped her and she has a right to tell her story. She explains some of these experiences in her book. April is an activist. April is a successful charity auctioneer and so it is part of her business to help raise money and become involved with various charities and causes. April has for many years actively operated and managed Whisker City, her Seattle-based, non-profit efforts to care for unwanted cats and kittens. April continues to donate her time to counsel Dash Poem victims. April spends time as an ELI team member supporting me in winning the appeal against Ellis’ to overturn the over-reaching stalking protective order against me. All the while, April manages, markets, and operates her charity auction business.
April has told me she experienced sexism since she was a young woman and has fought hard over the years to gain the position, success, respect, and independence she has today. She has told me she has been a loner many times in her life. Using April’s own words, she “loves” the kinship, camaraderie, intelligence, passion, creativity, and mission of ELI to stop copyright extortion and especially its eclectic members of which I am the “figurehead”. (I really should not claim to be the “leader” as dealing with strong-willed, independent-minded ELI members are like herding cats!) Given the totality of April’s life experiences and her association with ELI members (especially me), it was inevitable the next stage in her personal and professional growth was to become a book author. As an author of several book and audio titles myself, I support her goal to become a book author. Contrary to what some might think, April has aspirations to write other books, not “obsess” over Ellis and the legally-dangerous-to-share Dash poem. This book project is April selecting what she personally knows that others need to be informed and warned about.
What Ellis doesn’t appear to realize is that her and Jolin’s ongoing efforts to heavy-handedly “control” the Dash poem, her critics, extracting disproportionate payments from scores of legally-ignorant victims without any warning for innocent sharing, and initiating legal action against me, Ellis’ has given birth to so much material and stories within April’s book. (As a side note, one day [win, lose, or draw], I plan on writing my own book about the Ellis v. Chan / Chan v. Ellis legal saga.)
Clearly, there are two sides of the story in the heated dispute between April and Ellis. One being told by April and her supporters such as myself and one told by Ellis (who uses a Chinese wall to shield her readership of April’s book). April is determined to tell her side of the story through using a book platform. Understandably, Ellis is unnerved by April’s upcoming book. But Ellis herself has largely created the “monster” that will become the “Poetic Justice” book.
Some might want to label this dispute as a “catfight” between April and Ellis. The truth of the matter is that there is a whole lot more to the story. April is on a mission of personal growth, advocacy, education, and empowerment by publishing her book. What was unexpected is that Ellis would so personally and directly initiate attacks against April’s credibility before reading one word of the new book.
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