April 30, 2012 --

Seems innocent enough. A friend sends you an inspirational poem. You share the poem and then forget about it. Out of the blue, you receive an email from the author of that poem. The author demands payment and threatens to sue you for $150,000 if you don’t settle now. April Brown, CEO of Charity Auction World received one such poem entitled “The Dash” by Linda Ellis of “Live Your Dash. Brown briefly posted “The Dash” on her Charity Auction World website in 2011. Brown included the authors’ name in the post. Within a few days of posting The Dash poem, she received a letter from Linda Ellis’s copyright representative demanding payment. April Brown is publicly refusing to pay Linda Ellis of The Dash poem and has since united hundreds of victims of what Brown calls "The Nasty Dash Virus". 

Brown believes Copyright infringement threats are the new computer virus, infecting millions of unsuspecting victims every day. This virus doesn’t harm your hardware or programs. The damage is far worse. One innocent sharing can entrap all of your friends, family, colleagues and followers in a legal sludge and you are culpable. They will be bullied into paying thousands of dollars in copyright infringement fees. In fact, the profits of this scam threatens to rival spyware, adware, worms and trojans combined. It is estimated that author, Linda Ellis rakes in upwards of a million dollars annually in copyright infringement fees simply by regularly sending a few threatening letters by email. 

Is this legal? Any copyright holder can demand copyright fees for unauthorized use of copyrighted material but it is not clear that the Federal Courts would rule in favor of a copyright holder if a case featuring openly shared content were challenged. Brown believes that the fact that “The Dash” Poem was free for a period of time without being copyrighted is important to the case. “It is the opinion that when an author posts their own content for free, and that content happens to go viral, if the author then copyrights the content the copyright is unenforceable”, said Brown. “Sharing is common practice and author attribution should be no different in the digital media than the print media as with a bibliography where quotations and author credit do not require authorization.”

Brown’s goal at this point is to warn others not to post The Dash poem by Linda Ellis of Live Your Dash. Victims have been targeted from a single post on a blog, facebook, and email distributions. The poem can't be carved on tombstones, used in oral presentations, video taped or printed in newsletters, papers, speeches and sermons. Her hope is this warning will become viral and inoculate The Nasty Dash Virus” for good.

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For more information on Linda Ellis and The Dash Poem visit www.  and