Monday, December 21, 2009

Is Blackmail Free Speech?

Over the weekend I was watching a small blurb about the "blackmail" scheme that went down with David Letterman. I had known the jist of it, but had never heard the exact details of how the guy approached him.

With a play treatment. He offered Letterman first dibs on a play about Letterman's work-innapropriate infidelities...like any other play, if Letterman opted not to buy it it would be up for public sale.

Ingenious right?

I've never understood why blackmail- or extortion as it protects a crime- is illegal. I mean in, in terms of legislation...why would the federal government pass laws to protect someone from their own information becoming public? Since I am still computer-less I can't look up the history of the legislation...but I can only assume it has something to do with protecting K Street and Capital Hill.

The more I think about it, the less it makes sense. How does this not qualify under freedom of speech? And asking for money in exchange for information...doesn't that happen legally every day? My university sure raked me over the coals for information they provided. What would be the legal recourse for blackmail victims? None. Live your life above reproach and you won't have to worry...

There was a time a few years back when one of The Man's customer's had made some bad business decisions and wasn't paying the fairly substantial amount he owed us... I had two kids to take care of and he was betting $25K on the Eagles...I feel I should have been able to demand he pay or I inform authorities about his book... Once again the law protects the cad.

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