The Legalization of Blackmail: A Reply to Professor Gordon
42 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2011
Date Written: July, 13 2011
Blackmail is the offer to refrain from engaging in an act that one has the right to perform. Typically, the licit act from which the blackmailer is offering to refrain is the exercise of his rights of free speech. Alternatively, the blackmailee can initiate this agreement; he may approach the blackmailer with the offer of money or other valuable consideration as the price for the blackmailer's silence. In a 1993 article, Wendy J. Gordon hypothesized that blackmail's "central case" occurs when the blackmailer is in possession of information embarrassing or harmful to the blackmailee, and for a fee refrains from publicizing that information. The present Article responds to Gordon's assertion that, for various reasons, blackmail should be legally prohibited.
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