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Spammer Gets $11 Billion Fine 478

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-a-lotta-shifts-at-the-dq dept.
Spad writes "It's not a typo, The Inquirer (amongst others) is reporting that an Iowa-based ISP has been awarded $11.2 billion in a case against spammer James McCalla, who was found guilty of sending over 280 million illegal spam emails. Under state law, the ISP was entitled to $10 per illegal e-mail sent. According to the Quad-City Times, McCalla has also been banned from using a computer for 3 years. From the article: "CIS acknowledged that it is unlikely to see any of the judgment money but said that it was time that spammers learnt that their actions would result in an economic death penalty"."
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Spammer Gets $11 Billion Fine

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  • Bankrupcy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by srock2588 (827871) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:34PM (#14402218) Journal
    Are you allowed to declare bankrupcy if you owe money via criminal court order?

    This dude just got F'd in the A.
    • Re:Bankrupcy? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dr_dank (472072) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:36PM (#14402241) Homepage Journal
      Are you allowed to declare bankrupcy if you owe money via criminal court order?

      Nope, judgements and federally subsidized loans cannot be discharged by bankrupcy.
      • Re:Bankrupcy? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by flicken (182650) <flicken-slashdot&flicken,net> on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:45PM (#14402346) Homepage
        According to the article, the IPS doesn't expect to collect any of the money. So it is likely that they will cancel the debt. Which means, according to IRS publication 525, that the spammer will owe taxes on the forgiven debt.

        Let's see... $11.2 billion, at the highest tax bracket of 35%, that's $3.92 billion he'll owe the IRS.

        IRS publication 525:

        Canceled Debts Generally, if a debt you owe is canceled or forgiven, other than as a gift or bequest, you must include the canceled amount in your income. You have no income from the canceled debt if it is intended as a gift to you. A debt includes any indebtedness for which you are liable or which attaches to property you hold.

        If the debt is a nonbusiness debt, report the canceled amount on Form 1040, line 21. If it is a business debt, report the amount on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) (or on Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Farming, if the debt is farm debt and you are a farmer).

        • Re:Bankrupcy? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bwalling (195998)
          Couldn't this be used as a way to escape the gift tax? If I give you $10 million, then you have to pay taxes on it. If I loan you $10 million, then as a gift to you, cancel your debt to me, then you've paid no taxes on the $10 million.
          • Re:Bankrupcy? (Score:4, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2006 @02:32PM (#14402862)
            IANAL, but No. [turbotax.com]
            It looks like cancelling a loan as a gift is simply counted as a gift (incurring gift taxes) instead of straight income (as with an otherwise-forgiven loan). The first $11,000 is tax-free; the next $9,089,000 counts against the $1 million lifetime gift limit, and then gets gift-taxed.
        • If they are smart. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @02:28PM (#14402809) Homepage
          Let them cancel half the debt, then report the income to the IRS and then file a report with the IRS that these guys are committing the tax fraud and send dicovery documents to to IRS and then collect the reward of the money from the IRS. That way the IRS can crawl up their ass with a microscope, then they still get some money from that.
          • by John Hurliman (152784) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @04:47PM (#14404140) Homepage
            Not only that, but this company will never pay taxes again for the rest of its existence. Report 11 billion income on the books, cancel the loan and write off 11 billion to bad debt and carry that forward as a loss eternally. The company now permanently operates in the red even though they (might) pull a profit every year, and they can 1099 the guy to screw him over with a non-bankruptable debt to the IRS that will seize his assets, garnish up to 25% of his wages and destroy his credit until he's dead.
        • Re:Bankrupcy? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jcr (53032)
          According to the article, the IPS doesn't expect to collect any of the money. So it is likely that they will cancel the debt.

          What for?

          The proceeds of a lawsuit aren't income as far as tax law is concerned, since the legal theory is that the judgment "makes whole" the damage done to the plaintiff. So, the ISP has a debt on their books, which they can write down and take a tax loss on. If they write off ten million of it per year, they're basically tax free for as long as they care to be.

          Of course, if the
      • Not exactly... (Score:5, Informative)

        by flyinwhitey (928430) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:49PM (#14402391)
        "* LAWSUITS AND JUDGMENTS

        The filing of either a Chapter Seven straight bankruptcy or Chapter
        Thirteen debt adjustment immediately stops any lawsuits from being filed
        or judgments being taken against you. If a law suit is pending at the
        time of such filing, it can go no further. If a judgment has been
        taken, its enforcement can go no further. If a creditor has a judgment
        and is garnishing your wages, the garnishment can be stopped. Filing
        for Chapter Seven straight bankruptcy may relieve you of the obligation
        to pay the judgment. In a Chapter Thirteen debt adjustment, you may be
        able to satisfy the judgment over a period not to exceed five years. If
        the judgment has placed a lien on your home, that lien can be removed if
        it interferes with your homestead. If lawsuits or judgments are a
        threat or reality, the protection afforded under the bankruptcy laws may
        be an appropriate solution for you."

        It appears that in some states the law is a little different, but generally the answer is yes, you can file bankruptcy.
        • It is my understanding that bankruptcy will not discharge a judgment for an intentional act. The question then becomes, does spamming in that case become an intentional act. That's is why OJ still has the judgment against him.
      • That depends on the state. For example, in Florida, if the judgement will drive your business to bankruptcy then the fine is reduced to an amount which will prevent your business from being put out... this is why Big tobacco wants to fight their court cases in Florida.

        Also, half the battle of a lawsuit is collecting the money...you cannot collect what the person doesn't have, and I am pretty sure the gov't is not allowed to force a person to give so much that he cannot live (i.e. become homeless).

        No
    • Re:Bankrupcy? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      its a civil order... not criminal. If it was criminal, it would be a fine to the state.

      And yes, you can go bankrupt and not pay your debt, depending on the judgement of the court, but he will have to surrender everything* he owns.
  • by suso (153703) * on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:35PM (#14402224) Homepage Journal
    That's ok. MR JAMES MCCALLA read an email a week ago about how to get out of debt by declaring bankruptcy.
  • Uhm, sorry to say, but how is fining someone $39/email really justified?

    That seems beyond excessive.
    • How is counting every infringing download of a song equivalent to purchasing the album at full retail? You've got to pick a number somewhere.

      I think they should have cut his nuts off instead.
    • Re:Real justice? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Valacosa (863657)
      "The Iowa court was told the defendants 'falsely and illegally' represented that their e-mails originated from the CIS domain The e-mails used the cis.net as a return address to disguise the source of the e-mails to avoid complaints."
      IANAL, but I'm guessing forging the ISP's address in the header has something to do with it. Seems perfectly fair to me; it's not legal to forge someone's signature in meatspace either.
    • It's punitive, and meant as a deterrent.

      It really doesn't matter anyhow, as with the amount of emails sent out by your average spammer, any penalty that might actually stop them will bankrupt the target. 10 cents a mail still comes out to 110 million, after all, and that's low. At 10 cents a mail, some morons will do the math and still decide it's economically feasible.
  • So, where is that huge check going to be postmarked from??

    It's a nice symbolic gesture, but it'll never stop spam. There are too many morons out there who actually buy stuff from spam advertisements. Even if one user out of a million clicks on an ad, it didn't cost the spammer anything to send out those million messages from other people's PCs behind their unfirewalled DSL connection.
    • Do you know of anyone who actually did any real studies or investigations and found that spammers really are generating sales from the spam they send out?

      In my own experience, when I've actually tried to visit a web-site or reply to an email given in a spam ad, it was already disabled/shut off. It seems like the war on spam has escalated to the point where ISPs are getting fairly efficient at shutting down the spammers' mailboxes and web presences within minutes or hours of them sending out a barrage of ad
      • First of all, if it was truly "completely and utterly ineffective marketing" then this problem would have sorted itself out a long time ago. I know that someone, somewhere, is buying this overpriced crap, and generating enough revenue to keep this thing going.

        Part of the issue (and definitely the hardest to solve) is that the ISP's have no choice but to take a reactive approach. As you correctly pointed out, the ISP's have "escalated to the point where ISPs are getting fairly efficient at shutting down th
    • Change the law to affect the party that stands to profit from whatever action the email suggests AND the party that sent the mail.

      $5.5B from SpammerDude, $5.5B from D1sc0unt V1agr4 Inc.

      Fraught with problems, but I'm just some moron on slashdot - what do I know about legislation?
      • Change the law to affect the party that stands to profit from whatever action the email suggests AND the party that sent the mail.

        OK, so let's do a scenario. You own "Divide By Zero's Friendly Software Store" and I own "Alizarin's Discount Software, Bowling, and Small Appliance Emporium." I don't like the fact that you get more business than I do, so I contract a spammer under the table (and possibly by saying I'm you) to send out some spam advertising your company's mail-order services. Somebody reports it
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:38PM (#14402267)
    CIS acknowledged that it is unlikely to see any of the judgement money but said that it was time that spammers learnt that their actions would result in an economic death penalty.

    Why does that sentence look weird?

    (going to google.com)
    define: learnt

    ---No definitions were found for learnt.

    Well at least we learnt one thing today.
  • by fak3r (917687) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:38PM (#14402269) Homepage
    More of this needs to happen to show Spammers that it's not going to be economically feasable to spam ppl anymore. I'm surprised more ISPs aren't shutting more and more of these folks down, but I guess open relays, anon proxies and zombie machines (everywhere) give the spammers a good choice of SMTP options. Personally I love my server setup to deal with Spam: greylisting -> postfix -> mailscanner -> razor2 -> pyzor -> dcc checks -> spam assassin -> clamav -> bitdefender -> mailscanner -> ~/Maildir I haven't had a real spam get into my INBOX in months, and I update my SA rules and virus defs nightly. I wish more would create these kinds of blocks and stick them in front of more and more mailservers...would help cut down on the spam, thus stopping more of it from being clicked on, thus cutting down on the economics of it all. Having a user click a 'this is spam' button is after the fact. I'm also a fan of tarpitting, though I haven't set it up...yet. Since I keep a list of spammers now, I can use that list once I have la brea or the like setup, thus hurting spammers more by tying up their sending boxes. Anyone have other ideas on how to automate this return fight?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:46PM (#14402367)

      Personally I love my server setup to deal with Spam: greylisting -> postfix -> mailscanner -> razor2 -> pyzor -> dcc checks -> spam assassin -> clamav -> bitdefender -> mailscanner -> ~/Maildir I haven't had a real spam get into my INBOX in months

      Wow, do you get any mail at all?

    • Funny how punitive damages are so extreme when it's an individual shyster whose game got called, but become cause celebres when a massive corporation like Mickey-D's is on the defending end.

      Last I heard MacDonalds was initially assessed damages equivalent to a couple of days' coffee sales (or profits?) in a case where they were singularly arrogant (and idiotic) in their own defense. The pop media turned that into a case for tort reform, and it eventually got settled for less money -- but people still whin

    • by Sneftel (15416) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @02:33PM (#14402881)
      greylisting -> postfix -> mailscanner -> razor2 -> pyzor -> dcc checks -> spam assassin -> clamav -> bitdefender -> mailscanner -> ~/Maildir

      I'm going to send you an email about Nigerian unaccredited penis enlargement viagra. I'm guessing your computer will catch on fire.
  • R.I.P. (Score:2, Informative)

    by dusik (239139)
    I have no sympathy for this guy, and I nope the other spammers will take this as a hint. Every time I receive an e-mail offering me Viagra I take it as a personal insult ;)
  • by BushCheney08 (917605) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:38PM (#14402273)
    Perhaps he should contact his friend in Nigeria.
  • Since its unlikely this ISP will see one red cent from this guy, I read that they can write the judgement off. A discount for them, but even worse for the spammer, a form of 'income' to him since he does not have to pay

    So the IRS will be knocking on his door, asking for their rightfull taxes.
    • you know, that's actually a very good idea. Once the debt is to the IRS for taxes due he can't charge off the debt. lets say that the IRS taxes him at the rate of 42%, and discounts his tax to .1 cent on each dollar due, he still owes:
      $4,620,000.00
      That is a real bite in the ass that can't be ignored.
      -nB
  • Frank: Gentlemen, I propose we send a message to tobacco companies everywhere by fining the Spammers infinity billion dollars!

    Congressman: That's the spirit Frank! But I think a real number might be more effective.
  • Did the judge append a non-functioning "sign off" option?
  • Well and good, I suppose. I'm all for trying to eliminate the financial incentive to send out spam, and impossible-to-satisfy judgements are one way of doing that.

    At the same time, though, that under the current judicial system and global nation-state system, this amounts to not much. One guy who was unfortunate enough to be based in the US got nailed. Great. But I've got the sneaking suspicion there are more offenders scattered in places the long arm of American law just can't effectively get to. And their
  • Processing of judicial judgements?

    I remember these being all the rage some time ago...

  • This goes up there with the 340 year jail terms as being thoroughly silly . It is clear spammers need punished but they also need rehabilitation .
    It would be fine if there was a default of seizing all the assets gained from their actions .. but this will ruin this man for life , they are only ,after all cheap fraudsters .
    This type of sentence gives them no hope of rehabilitation and will most likely drive them to a further life of crime . After all if you owe that much , then you won't want your earnings g
    • The sentence isn't about the criminal, it's about potential criminals. Whether or not this guy gets rehabilitated is almost (not quite) immaterial to the real goal: to make the cost of the crime (risk of getting caught * penalty assessed) greater than the benefit.

      The lower the risk of being caught, the larger the penalty assessed has to be to compensate. Obviously, as in this case, there are functional limits. The size of the penalty, past some point, makes no difference; it spells economic death for the pe
    • How about seizing all the assets and making him perform a few years community service in a relevant field , perhaps even a stay in a minimum security prison or a term of parole .

      How about 1 second of community service for each illegal e-mail, based on the amount of time he's wasted of someone else's life. Something like 15 years of picking up trash would seem fitting.

  • Hooray! Now lets go and get the other SPAMmers, and MAKE THEM PAY!
  • by fak3r (917687) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:44PM (#14402340) Homepage
    Would someone please forward the following to James McCalla for me, it seems they've been trying to reach him for some time!

    ----

    FREELOTTO GROUP INTERNATIONAL
    Prize Remittance Division (PRD)

    RE: OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION
    FILE REF NO: 07- 321786542
    FAST NO: 2912144
    LOTTO REF: FL/0507/FAST

    Dear Prize Winner,

    This email confirms that you have received from the FREELOTTO GROUP INTERNATIONAL an official notification of your lotto winning in the FREELOTTO AUTOMATIC SUBSCRIPTION TICKET GAME (F.A.S.T) played on the 1st of january 2006, at our lottery office complex Trafford, London.

        You have won a FREELOTTO PRIZE OF £ 500,000 [five hundred thousand pounds sterlings], a prize payout of your winning has been approved by the FREELOTTO GROUP. In accordance with the United Kingdom lottery ordinance, you are authorized as the lotto prize winner to request claims of your winning prize.
            The FREELOTTO AUTOMATIC SUBSCRIPTION TICKET (F.A.S.T) GAME is an online promotional program organized by the FREELOTTO GROUP INTERNATIONAL. A total of 500,000 different email addresses are entered for the FREELOTTO AUTOMATIC SUBSCRIPTION TICKET GAME (F.A.S.T).

    SINCERELY,

    ROBERT A. V. BENARD,

    GROUP PRESIDENT - FLG
  • This is an interesting judgement. I mean, almost everything uses computers in one way or another - cars have computers in them, is he banned from using a car?

    I can get mired in technicalities, it is obvious the judgement refers to a personal computer. But that line does get fuzzy. Does an iPod count? A PDA? A cell phone?

    Also, given how essential computer use is nowadays, this almost infringes on barring the pursuit of life, liberty yadda yadda. Yes he committed a crime, but it is almost to the point w
    • I'm sure they'll figure out some way of clarifying the technicalities. If you think about it, this is not much different from revoking the license of people who commit crimes with cars. Some people would argue that cars are essential for many tasks, yet we still suspend those rights. I think the critical difference here is that cars pose some significant inherent dangers. Spam...well, I can't remember the last time drunk spamming killed someone, but the bottom line is that the instrument used to perpetrate
    • Also, given how essential computer use is nowadays, this almost infringes on barring the pursuit of life, liberty yadda yadda. Yes he committed a crime, but it is almost to the point where essential tasks cannot be performed, but on a pc. And in three years, who knows.

      Really ... who cares? He's demonstrated that his primary of using a computer is fraudulent and illegal.

      If you commit vehicular manslaughter, and after you get out of jail they say you can't drive a car, what do I care that you can't get a job

  • Pointless (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@OOOopto ... inus threevowels> on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:45PM (#14402358) Journal

    From QuadCity Times: The lawsuit claimed that McCalla sent more than 280 million illegal spam e-mail messages into CIS's network...

    He claimed that under state law in effect at the time, he was entitled to $10 per illegal e-mail.

    Kramer said then that he likely will not see any of the judgment money.

    Then what precisely, would be the point? If the claim is that this will somehow economically damage a spammer, when in fact not even a single dollar may be paid out ultimately to the aggrieved party. Not to mention the ruling is in Iowa but the spammer is in Florida, so there may be jurisdictional disputes, reciprocity or not.

    This is merely smoke and mirrors, to make some people feel like they are doing their part in the war on spam. I don't see spam drying up. It seems to be getting worse. There has to be a real crackdown, perhaps even prison time if any inroads are to be made.

    Wake me when they string this spammer up to a tall tree by his thumbs.

    • Agreed, how a day in a federal pen for every email sent. Of course there would be still be awards for damages on top of that and $10 per email sounds fair.

      1 spam email should be considered a serious crime. Spammers are now commonly sending millions but that should not mean that we treat cases of individual unsolicited mail less seriously.
  • Access denied (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thaerin (937575)
    McCalla has also been banned from using a computer for 3 years.
    br? No porn for you!
  • Erm, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordPhantom (763327) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @01:47PM (#14402375)
    Ok. Let me preface this by saying I'm all for getting rid of spam and spammers.
    That said, 11 BILLION dollars? That's more than the GDP some nations.... it's not only improbable that they'll collect, but what is the real point of asessing such a sum? They might have assigned a billion gazillion trillion quillion dollars for all that amount matters. My concern is "how will that help deal with the rest of them", so my cheering for this judgement is a bit tempered by the insanity of the judgement. Indebting an individual or even small group of individuals with 11 billion dollars is just as bad against spammers as the idiotic size of the RIAA lawsuits from a few years ago - last thing we need is sympathy for spammers because the hammer of justice fell too hard....
    • The point is that this guy is buried - forever - should they be able to find him. They can just keep on seizing his assets, pretty much indefinitely. In short - all your bucks are belong to us. God I love my home state.
  • Hey, I've got another one for him, apparently he's a winner! Someone forward this on to James McCalla as well, seems his money problems are behind him!

    ---

    Euro - Afro Asian Sweepstake Lottery
    An Affiliate of Foundmoney International
    Arena Complex Km 18 Route de Rufisque
    I.P.P Award Dept.
    Johannesburg, South Africa.
    Ref: EAASL/941OYI/03
    Batch: 03/06/MA34

    WINNING NOTIFICATION:
    Attn:Dear Sir/Madam

    We happily announce to you the draw of the Euro - Afro Asian Sweepstake
    Lo
  • by ewhac (5844)
    HELLO HOW ARE YOU. I HOPE THIS LETTER FINDS YOU WELL, AND I APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT SEEMS A SURPRISING INTRUSION. I AM DR. NICK RIVIERA, FOUNDER AND CEO OF CIS INTERNET SERVICES IN CLINTON, OHIO, USA, AND I HOPE I MIGHT ENABLE YOUR ASSISTANCE IN AN ENTERPRISE OF GREAT PROFIT FOR BOTH OF US.

    I AM THE AWARDEE OF RECORD OF A US FEDERAL COURT JUDGMENT OF ELEVEN BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION US DOLLARS ($11,200,000,000.00). UNFORTUNATELY, MY BANK ACCOUNT AT WELLS FARGO CLAIMS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO PROCESS SO

  • by gmuslera (3436)
    11bn dollars hurts, but... 3 years without using computers? Where are the human rights in US courts? Thats inhuman. I think this poor guy is watching for a fast suicide way, anything, but not 3 years without computers.
  • While I agree that the guy deserves the shaft, where is spam in the technolgy problem priority these days?

    Here's the short list:
    DRM: As the sony rootkit points out, a little slap on the hand is all that the good corporate citizens get in a bad situation. RIAA sharing-is-evil corporatethink included.

    Trusted Computing: Loss of control over much of anything on a computer that used to be mine.

    Representative Democracy: I don't really care who's running the insane asylum, but it bothers me more that the indivi
  • Lawyers looking for the big score should track them all down and get a contingency fee of x%
  • by revery (456516)
    The case began to go poorly for Mr. McCalla when after being asked by the prosecution whether he had in fact sent unsolicited email, he was only able to answer with phrases such as: This T9rade isOn The M0ve._trueness. and Other guys are improving themselves..are you?

  • The fix for must SPAM is simple. Change the Uniform Commercial Code to allow an automatic refund from your credit card account upto in one year after any sales based on SPAM. No appeal or reason needed. If this were the case, no credit card company would touch SPAMers. The real problem are the banks as they seem happy to make money off of SPAM.
    • by scovetta (632629) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @02:32PM (#14402860) Homepage
      Probably not the easiest thing to do:
      1. Although most spammers are trying to sell "products", there are plenty (Nigeria, Phishing, etc) that don't.
      2. It's extremely easy to accept credit cards (takes about 2 days to use PayPal-- I'm sure it's similar for other companies)-- Placing the burden of spammer-checking on the credit card gateways (or parent companies) would significantly increase the cost to businesses of accepting credit cards.
      3. It's be rather easy for me to spam YOUR product in an attempt to (a) blackmail you, or (b) get credit card companies to drop you (in the case of a competitor).
      3a. It would be equally easy for you to spam and then claim that it's actually me doing it.
      4. What about companies that accept PayPal (or similar)?

      Personally, I think we're on the right track. Tougher laws, better technology. I don't think we need more to add more bloat to the process of selling products.

  • by keraneuology (760918) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @02:03PM (#14402549) Journal
    "CIS acknowledged that it is unlikely to see any of the judgment money but said that it was time that spammers learnt that their actions would result in an economic death penalty"

    By economic death penalty they must refer to something that is never actually carried out, delayed by infinite appeals and more for show than anything else. They'll never get a dime of those billions, the spammer will continue to spam (check out http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200 5601040360 [freep.com] - if the legal system won't do anything about a woman who was caught three times driving with a suspended license to her probation officer they won't do anything significant about a spammer) and people like me will lose ever more faith in the system.

    We have people awarding impossible fines with full knowledge that they will never be recovered (ie: they knowingly refused to mete out justice since their "justice" is only something that exists on paper and in their fantasy world). We have judges who order restraining orders against David Letterman because somebody claimed he was using psychic powers to harass her. We have people who will devote months of their lives to sit on juries and render verdict even though everybody knows from the start that what the jury says is irrelevant because everything gets rewritten on appeal anyway.

    The system is broke. The overlords of the system don't care; these people have much less respect for the law than the criminals they try in their courts.

    • "We have people who will devote months of their lives to sit on juries and render verdict even though everybody knows from the start that what the jury says is irrelevant because everything gets rewritten on appeal anyway."

      So what are you saying here? That the jury system should be eliminated? That there should no appeals of verdicts, ever? You say the system is "broke" but you offer no constructive alternative. You have no faith in the justice system yet imply that an authoritarian-style system of summ
  • Obviously I'm missing something, and so is the article.

    $10 x 280,000,000 11,200,000,00

    Where did the other factor of ~3 go? Maybe that's the judge was convinced that, like any IT project, you should just automatically multiply the requirements by 3.

    The author should know someone's going to ask questions about that because because we want to know where the money is coming from and where it's going. Not clarifying that makes the article just regurgitation and makes it look like somethings being hidden.

    Not t
  • Handed down by U. S. District Judge Charles R. Wolle on Dec. 23, the judgment also prohibits McCalla from accessing the Internet for three years.

    Whenever you hear of malicious hackers or spammers getting caught you always see these stipulations of "not allowed to use the Internet". If you ask me, it's kind of ridiculous to impose a restriction of that sort on a spammer who probably didn't actually do the spamming, but outsourced that to some kid in Russia.

    Also, regarding the judgement. If the only point of
    • told the spammer to compose an email of apology to the CIS account holders he spammed with his full name and legitimate email address.

      Yeah, becuase what the spammer needs to do is send out MORE emails as punishment. Jeesh. No, money talks.

      If you ask me, it's kind of ridiculous to impose a restriction of that sort on a spammer who probably didn't actually do the spamming, but outsourced that to some kid in Russia.

      And if we don't put harsh penalties to 'accessories to crime', we'll have spammers thriving non-
  • Finally! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @02:46PM (#14403019) Homepage Journal
    After 10 years or so, we've finally arrived at the stage where we threaten the only thing that matters to the spammers: Their money.

    This might be a good turning point, especially with these ridiculously silly amounts which actually do mean that life, economically, is over for you. Everything the guys ever earns above and beyond whatever the minimum-for-life-that-you-can't-legally-take-away is in his jurisdiction will go poof, for the rest of his years.

    In other words, the spam equation just changed from "make tons of money, if caught, lose some and continue" to "make tons of money, if caught you're pretty much dead". That's a different game.
    • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by taustin (171655) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @02:54PM (#14403087) Homepage Journal
      First, judgements have a statute of limitations in pretty much all states. 10 years is common. After that, the judgement disappears.

      Second, bankruptcy costs a few hundred bucks. If the spammer has any other significant debt, this judgement will actually do him a favor by clearing all his debt out.

      The net effect of this will be zero, or actually enable the spammer to expand his operation with upgraded equipment.
  • Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jejones (115979) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @03:00PM (#14403135) Journal
    OK. A spammer gets fined $11e9 for spamming. MS gets a slap on the wrist for its behavior. What's wrong with this picture?
  • by brainspank (515274) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @04:20PM (#14403882)
    A lawsuit claimed that McCalla sent more than 280 million illegal spam e-mail messages.

    $280m * $10 = $2.8b ( != $11b )

    maybe they converted to Canadian for bigger effect...

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