A spammer has successfully been sued...
February 24, 2003 3:47 PM   Subscribe

A spammer has successfully been sued, using anti-junk Fax laws in a Michigan small-claims court.
posted by o2b (12 comments total)
It wouldn't surprise me if this gets overturned; equating email with a fax seems like a bit of a stretch. Also, wouldn't this ruling only apply for dialup users?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:07 PM on February 24, 2003

Interesting. Way to go, Mark. I was wondering about the law only applying to dial-up users in this manner as well. A cable modem or T1 line certainly isn't a phone line. How about DSL? It does go through a telephone jack, afterall.
posted by DyRE at 4:15 PM on February 24, 2003

it wasn't overturned, he got the money. read the link.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:29 PM on February 24, 2003

Uh.. the link said he won, pending appeal, right? Or am I missing something?
posted by jonson at 4:31 PM on February 24, 2003

D'oh! Sorry, didn't scroll down into his story far enough. I'm dumb.
posted by jonson at 4:32 PM on February 24, 2003

Interesting concept and great news that the suit was successful. I wonder how much he got? Maybe it is just me, but I have noticed a sudden increase in the junk faxes we are getting at work. We used to only see maybe one every few weeks and we are getting a few each day now.
posted by dg at 4:54 PM on February 24, 2003

Somewhere, a sysadmin just got his wings.
posted by mecran01 at 6:18 PM on February 24, 2003

He got $539. A few each day? Hell, I can see a great make-money-fast business case there...
posted by five fresh fish at 7:02 PM on February 24, 2003

The spammers didn't appeal, so this lower-court ruling will not be making the journey to the big leagues. It does set a case law precedent, but not one that any other judge is obligated at this point to agree to. More such rulings will make the trend clear -- or not.

Yelling At Nothing, the fax law was passed because the idea took root that an advertiser using your ink and your paper, not to mention your print head and your depreciated equipment, might just be crossing the line. With e-mail, the resources are still paid for by you, even if they are virtual, and there is certainly an expensive cost associated with that overhead. With upwards of 40% of e-mail identified as spam, you're essentially buying twice as much bandwidth, twice as much hard disk storage, and twice as much administration expertise and time, without the advertising paying a cent (and usually they're stealing the resources they use to send the spam, as well -- with throwaway accounts bought, often, with stolen credit cards).
posted by dhartung at 9:42 PM on February 24, 2003

wow--good point(s) dhartung. i'm not a lawyer, but that seems like a solid case for new legislation, if not for actual lawsuits. do you know if this has been argued before?
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 10:32 PM on February 24, 2003

Upwards of 40% spam? Try 60% on my primary email account, which has received 235 emails in the past three days, and which hasn't been net-published (ie. Usenet, WWW) in over eight years.

I love Bayesian spam-filtering.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:25 AM on February 25, 2003

But if we stop the spammers, there'll be no more of those serendipitous opportunities to refinance my mortgage whilst indulging in strap-on lesbian fun...
posted by orange swan at 10:40 AM on February 25, 2003

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