blackmail

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blackmail,

in law, exaction of money from another by threatthreat,
in law, declaration of intent to injure another by doing an unlawful act, with a view to restraining his freedom of action. A threat is distinguishable from an assault, for an assault requires some physical act that appears likely to eventuate in violence, whereas a
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 of exposure of criminal action or of disreputable conduct. The term was originally used for the tribute levied until the 18th cent. upon the inhabitants of the Scottish border to provide immunity from raids by Scottish bands. Statutes often treat blackmail as a form of extortionextortion,
in law, unlawful demanding or receiving by an officer, in his official capacity, of any property or money not legally due to him. Examples include requesting and accepting fees in excess of those allowed to him by statute or arresting a person and, with corrupt
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.
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Blackmail

See also Bribery.
Blackness (See NIGHT.)
Blasphemy (See APOSTASY.)
Rigaud
adventurer and extortionist. [Br. Lit.: Little Dorrit]
Rudge
extorts to achieve personal ends. [Br. Lit.: Barnaby Rudge]
Sextus
threatens murder and dishonor to bed Lucretia. [Rom. Lit.: Fasti; Livy; Br. Lit.: The Rape of Lucrece]
Wegg, Silas
attempts to blackmail Boffin. [Br. Lit.: Our Mutual Friend]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Al-Shulail confirmed that punishments and sanctions remain in the powers of these bodies, and that Haia has now established a department specializing in combating blackmail crimes.
Tariq Habib, Consultant Psychiatrist, said that "blackmail and extortion cases are not confined to our communities; rather, these are widespread in most communities throughout the world.
Wafa Al-Ajami, family consultant and lecturer in the Sociology Department at Imam Mohammad ibn Saud Islamic University, commented that females were most easily used by blackmail perpetrators to do their work for them due to their tendency to be taken for granted in both public and private life.
She said that blackmail actions began to rise to the surface in society recently due to modern communication devices and mobiles with their high capabilities to take photos and visual and audio recordings.
But the criminal prohibition on blackmail is one of the few legal rules that directly regulates a mechanism of norm enforcement.
Thus, like other forms of communication, gossip is a consumption good, a parstime rather than a burden.(20) Whatever the exact boundaries of this preference, I assume that the fact that another member has violated a group norm is exactly the kind of interesting information people within the group will enjoy passing to others.(21) Given this assumption, and if blackmail threats are deterred by criminal sanctions, we can predict what group members will typically do when they discover that another member has violated a norm: They will disclose the violation to others and, in short order, the violation will become known to the group.(22)
Legalizing and enforcing blackmail contracts, however, will reduce the level of gossip about norm violations.(23) Absent criminal sanctions, blackmail will increase.(24) Thus, rather than gossip, group members who discover norm violations will sometimes conceal their information in order to blackmail the norm violator.(25) Restricting information flow in this manner would affect group norms in three ways.
Blackmail Ambiguously Aspects the Expected Cost of Norm Violations
Thus, an individual violates a norm only when b is greater than P(sc), where b is the individual's private benefit from violating the norm, sc is the sanction cost the individual will bear if his violation is detected, and P is the probability of detection by at least one person.(26) The effect of legalizing blackmail is ambiguous because it would likely increase P but decrease sc.
First, for obvious reasons permitting blackmail would increase P.
Second, blackmail would effectively decrease sc, by replacing it with a lower blackmail price.
Sometimes V will simply lack the wealth to pay a blackmail price equivalent to sc.