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Spam Government The Courts News Your Rights Online

4th Circuit Court Sides With a Spammer 154

bulled writes to tell us about coverage on CNet regarding a ruling a couple of weeks back that allows a spamming company to procede with their suit against a spamfighter. The 4th Circuit court ruled that the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, much derided here, trumps the Oklahoma law under which anti-spam activist Mark Mumma sued Omega World Travel for spamming him. The ruling allows Omega World Travel's countersuit, for defamation, to go forward. From the article: "'There's been a lot of activity in the states to pass laws purportedly to protect their citizens' from spam, said Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University. 'The 4th Circuit may have laid waste to all of those efforts.'"
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4th Circuit Court Sides With a Spammer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:55PM (#17022518)
    and rot in hell...
  • Important Because (Score:2, Informative)

    by gt_mattex ( 1016103 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:57PM (#17022562)

    FTA

    This ruling could prove to be a setback for other antispam activists for one major reason: It suggests that, thanks to the Can-Spam Act, state laws prohibiting fraudulent or deceptive communications won't be all that useful against junk e-mail.

    Basically, as far as i understand it, states will have a much harder time of protecting their citizens from spam.

    • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin @ x o xy.net> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:04PM (#17022706) Homepage Journal
      What's unfortunate in this case is that the activist has said that he's not going to appeal the decision due to lack of funds.

      Currently there is a conflict between various state and Circuit courts as to whether the CAN-SPAM act overrides stricter State laws regulating unsolicited email. The only thing that's going to resolve the issue is a ruling from the USSC, barring further legislation to clarify the issue. If this guy were to push on, he could conceivably bring it before the Supreme Court and get a real decision; more importantly, he'd probably concentrate enough media attention on it so that even if the decision were to go in favor of the spammers, it might make a tougher anti-spam law a campaign issue in the national arena. Right now, the spammers win if people don't make noise.
      • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <{fred} {at} {fredshome.org}> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:18PM (#17022986) Homepage
        Right now, the spammers win if people don't make noise.
        Or rather, given the way these things seem to work, "the spammers win if people who can afford to don't make noise".
      • by Rick17JJ ( 744063 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:43PM (#17025718)

        Perhaps some computer users organization should start a "Fight the Spamers" fund drive to pay for his legal bills, if he is interested in such an offer to help continue the fight. There are enough people out there who are fed up with spam that a "Fight the Spamers" legal aid fund might be feasible. I would be willing to contribute if it is clear that a well know responsible organization is supervising the collecting of funds.

        In important legal fights like this, I would hope that there might be some organizations out there who would consider helping to help make it possible for the little guy to stand up against better funded rivals. I am also thinking about legal situations such as where MPAA allegedly sued someone who has never owned a computer for illegally downloading music and that type of thing. Several years ago there was also SCO's threats to sue Linux users for infringing on their "intellectual property" rights. After several years of IBM, Novell and Red Hat fighting them in court it is becoming increasingly obvious that that their claims were totally bogus. Those companies have probably spent millions of dollars (and are still spending money) fighting SCOs false accusations. The average person could not afford to do that. Now that the SCO threat is fading away, Microsoft has starting to hint that Linux is infringing on their "intellectual property" rights. Their proxy, SCO, has failed to destroy Linux, so they, presumably, now realize they need to try to do the job themselves. They don't want to actually have to compete with a competitor such as Linux in a fair open-market free enterprise sort of way. If some small company with little money ever does get sued by Microsoft, I hope that other larger open-source using companies and individual users will take up a collection to help pay for a real legal fight.

        I have also heard of a case or two of whistle blowers who exposed government corruption having up spending their life savings on lawyers. In these general kinds of situations, the little guy should be able to afford to fight for what is right. I am not sure what help might or might not be available, but they are fighting a legal fight that is important to the country as a whole, so taking up a collection to help them would seem reasonable. I would like to see some organization try to raise the funds needed to help this guy fight against spam. They could also try to get some media publicity to get attention to their need for contributions.

    • Re:Important Because (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 0x537461746943 ( 781157 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:07PM (#17022756)
      But how can a state protect you from spam when the problem is really global where the state and US laws don't always apply? Even if all the states came up with some extremely strict spam laws it would just push spammers to other countries and they would still end up using spam bots from around the world. As long as there is email there will be spam. All we can do is deploy the best spam fighting techniques we can around our mail servers to reduce it.
      • by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:15PM (#17022934) Journal
        But how can a state protect you from spam when the problem is really global where the state and US laws don't always apply?


        Oh, thats easy. ... Newt Gingritches new "Great Wall of Bureaucracy
      • Re:Important Because (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:17PM (#17022960)
        But how can a state protect you from spam when the problem is really global where the state and US laws don't always apply?

        The real key is to follow the money. For spam recipients in the US, most of the pitches are for goods/services that US consumers will hopefully by talked into buying. If the businesses that will transact the money are in the US, or have ties to people in the US, that's something to go for. If the pitches are for outright fraud (say, phishing, or the sale of bogus meds), then you've got a good case to take to law enforcement in whatever country is harboring the scammers. Sure, that isn't always helpful... but recall the recent article discussing how some companies (like Microsoft) are helping to fund the local PDs as they pass that research and evidence along to those other countries. It can't hurt.
        • by 0x537461746943 ( 781157 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:53PM (#17023620)
          But do you really think they can be tracked down that easily? For an example... some of the spam is just stock pumping scams. There is no direct contact mentioned in the emails and trying to track them down when they are relayed through multiple spam bots will probably prove not very useful escpecially if some of the end points end up in countries that could care less about US laws. Even if we could locate and prosecute half of them(Which I don't think will ever happen) more will just pop up as others die off. With the current email system we will always have to setup spam filtering... I don't ever see spam going away because of some countries laws. I am not saying we shouldn't try to keep US companies from spamming but to think that spam will be greatly reduced because a mojority of the US has strict laws against it I think is just wishful thinking.
          • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:59PM (#17023750)
            I am not saying we shouldn't try to keep US companies from spamming but to think that spam will be greatly reduced because a mojority of the US has strict laws against it I think is just wishful thinking.

            You know what? I'd have better luck and less stress if I was ONLY trying to filter the stock pumping spam. If the people selling fake V1@gra, fake Rolexes, and fake everything else - all of the stuff that requires you to visit a web site and present payment - were taken down, it would hugely reduce the noise level. But more importantly, it's a matter of principle. Some fights are worth it, just because it sets a more civilized tone to overtly care about it and act with justice in mind that to just put up with it and decide that it will always be part of your life.

            I agree that there needs to be a protocol change or two. But there is a LOT of inertia behind good old SMTP. And I'd rather null-route every packet from Romania, and lose the occasional piece of legit mail, than give in and say that some spamming asshat who happens to live there can litter me and all of my users with his trash. *blood pressure up*
      • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:25PM (#17023110) Homepage

        Even if all the states came up with some extremely strict spam laws it would just push spammers to other countries...

        So if all the spammers move to Indonesia, that fact can at least be used as another factor to improve spam filtering. I don't receive a lot of legitimate e-mail from Indonesia. And hey, if Indonesia has a problem with having their country's e-mail filtered strictly by the rest of the world, then they can can crack down on spammers themselves.

        You're right, laws without the ability to enforce them won't solve the problem. However, without any laws, there isn't even the ability to push them out of the country, even if you know who they are

        • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:37PM (#17024450) Journal

          So if all the spammers move to Indonesia, that fact can at least be used as another factor to improve spam filtering. I don't receive a lot of legitimate e-mail from Indonesia.

          Unfortunately, even if every spammer moves to Indonesia, they're not relocating their rented botnets to Indonesia. Sorry, no magic bullet there; the spams will continue to originate from a random worldwide assortment of pwn'd business servers in Europe, bulletproof hosters in China, and clueless lusers' trojanized home PCs on US broadband.

          The only difference is that the spammers themselves will be outside of the easy reach of US law. That's a big plus, if you're one of the spammers. Extradition is so much more work, and in some third world countries you can easily evade detection or extradition with the connivance of local and national authorities if you have enough money.

          It's a global internet. Spam is a global problem. There is no global solution. Therefore, spam will be eterenal. QED.

      • by T3CHKNOW ( 1012327 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:01PM (#17023796)
        Yeah, shoot to kill.
      • by webweave ( 94683 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:03PM (#17026068)
        This is an American law served in America and only involving Americans. Sure you can't expect to police the world but we were told we had a law to protect us and now it's failed.

        I usually hate to abdicate vigilantism but it looks like the law was written to protect criminals and I can see why when I look at the number of lawmakers on their way to prison. Maybe its time for real justice? Good advise might just be that if you find a spammer save yourself the trouble and just sneak up on them and blow them away like the sewer rats they are.

        Is anyone really surprised that the law is broken?
      • by Pollardito ( 781263 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:53PM (#17027486)
        But how can a state protect you from spam when the problem is really global where the state and US laws don't always apply?
        exactly, the only way to stop this is to buy my new SPAM-B-GONE for $9.99
      • by SonicSpike ( 242293 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @12:09AM (#17029056) Journal
        Legislation doesn't work in this case!

        The only solution is a free-market solution. Better filtering, blacklisting, etc etc. The free market will sovle the problem eventually because unless we turn the ENTIRE WORLD into a police state, there is really no way to stamp it out.
    • by Thuktun ( 221615 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:54PM (#17024806) Homepage Journal
      Folks were predicting this kind of outcome at least three years ago, before it was even passed by Congress.

      http://groups.google.com/group/misc.legal.moderate d/msg/0c4b9f6ca950fed8 [google.com]
  • by SeekerDarksteel ( 896422 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:04PM (#17022702)
    If he sued a company under an existing law, and a court later found that a federal law outweighed the state law, how can the person suing possibly be held responsible? How can it be considered his responsibility to know the judgement of the circuit court before he even filed the case in the first place?
    • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:18PM (#17022992)
      I think because civil courts deal with "liability" not "responsibility" (that's criminal).

      Regardless of you being in the right, you still owe the other party for court/other costs. See also: OJ
    • by Intron ( 870560 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:44PM (#17023446)
      The well-named federal CAN SPAM law explicitly preempts state and local laws to allow spamming, so the Oklahoma law was already superceded. By providing a way to reach them and a working opt-out link, Omega met the low bar set by CAN-SPAM. The fact that you would have to be crazy to click on an opt-out link in a spam email didn't matter to Congress, and matters even less to a judge interpreting Congress' intent.

      The point is: complain to Congress about the bad law, not the judiciary who have to play the hand that they're dealt.
      • by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:26PM (#17025380) Homepage Journal
        I dunno, it's tough to argue with the decisions of a high court...if you've got an argument you can appeal after all.

        Sounds to me like a lame law being faithfully upheld by the judiciary...to the deteriment of the people.
        • by sfjoe ( 470510 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @10:53PM (#17028490)
          Sounds to me like a lame law being faithfully upheld by the judiciary...to the deteriment of the people.

          Which is exactly what the judiciary is supposed to do. People who use the term 'activist judges' to deride judicial opinions they don't like obviously have no understanding of the US legal system. It's not up to the juduciary to decide whther or not a law is 'lame'. Their job is to interpet laws. In some instances they can strike down all or part of a law for running counter to a superior law (the Constitution, for example) or for being too vague to be able to be followed. In no case are they free to strike a law due its stupidity - no mater how patently stupid said law may be.
          Place the blame where it correctly lies - with the legislative body.
      • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:24PM (#17026398)
        The well-named federal CAN SPAM law explicitly preempts state and local laws to allow spamming, so the Oklahoma law was already superceded.

        Read the article more carefully. CAN SPAM explicitly allows for state laws dealing with "falsity or deception in any portion of a commercial electronic mail message." But this judge decided that a falsified header and return address were "immaterial errors" and that a strict reading of that portion of CAN SPAM was "not compatible with the structure of the Can-Spam Act as a whole." In other words, strained rationalization of the result the judge wished to reach.
  • forward spam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:05PM (#17022714)
    In that case, I guess the judges shouldn't object if we forward our spam to them.
  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:08PM (#17022762) Homepage
    allows a spamming company to procede with their suit against a spamfighter

    Really? Why? Is the spamfighter bald? [procede.com]
  • ..of course it does. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Atlantis-Rising ( 857278 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:10PM (#17022818) Homepage
    Read the judgement- there's almost no question in my mind- this case was extremely clear cut. On page six, quoted is the Can-SPAM act in which


    This chapter supersedes any statute, regulation, or rule of a state or political subdivision of a state that expressly regulates the use of electronic male to send commerical messages...

    is quoted. That strikes down the application of Oklahoma's law, which the judge ruled
    ...is not limited to inaccuracies in transmission information that were material, lead to detrimental reliance by the recipient, and were made by a sender who intented that the misstatements be acted upon and either knew them to be inaccurate or was reckless about their truth.


    And then, the judge ruled that it didn't violate the CAN-SPAM act (The apellant, mummagraphics argued that the senders of the e-mails mislead mummagraphics as to the origin of the message, when the judge pointed out that it was a marketing e-mail- hence, it had all sorts of links and phone numbers and stuff to contact the people who had sent it.)

    With all that established, the appellants had no case.

    There's nothing fundamentally wrong with this, unless you have a problem with the doctrine of preemption- and if you do, that's a much, much larger issue than just spam e-mail.

    • by kidtwist ( 726601 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:16PM (#17022950)
      There's nothing wrong with the ruling except that, as someone says in the article, it "vindicates those of us who view Can-Spam as pointless and potentially dangerous legislation."
    • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:18PM (#17022994) Journal
      Read the judgement- there's almost no question in my mind- this case was extremely clear cut. On page six, quoted is the Can-SPAM act in which
      This chapter supersedes any statute, regulation, or rule of a state or political subdivision of a state that expressly regulates the use of electronic male to send commerical messages...
      Oh yeah? What about the use of electronic female? That's not even addressed in the statute, and I suspect that many of us use eletronic female very often.
    • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:45PM (#17023478) Journal
      That strikes down the application of Oklahoma's law, which the judge ruled ...is not limited to inaccuracies in transmission information that were material, lead to detrimental reliance by the recipient, and were made by a sender who intented that the misstatements be acted upon and either knew them to be inaccurate or was reckless about their truth.
      And then, the judge ruled that it didn't violate the CAN-SPAM act (The apellant, mummagraphics argued that the senders of the e-mails mislead mummagraphics as to the origin of the message, when the judge pointed out that it was a marketing e-mail- hence, it had all sorts of links and phone numbers and stuff to contact the people who had sent it.)
      Well, the judge appears to have ignored part of the law, which states:
      `(a) IN GENERAL- Whoever, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly--
      ..
      `(3) materially falsifies header information in multiple commercial electronic mail messages and intentionally initiates the transmission of such messages,
      The fact that the contact information was in the email is immaterial. The sender violated the plain text of the act.
    • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:56PM (#17023700) Homepage

      That's a deceptive misquote of the statute, which actually reads

      This chapter supersedes any statute, regulation, or rule of a State or political subdivision of a State that expressly regulates the use of electronic mail to send commercial messages, except to the extent that any such statute, regulation, or rule prohibits falsity or deception in any portion of a commercial electronic mail message or information attached thereto.

      The judge then took a narrow view of that language. His reading of the CAN-SPAM act is that "falsity or deception" above must rise to the level of a tort, and that the false information must constitute a "material deception". He then looks at the language of the CAN-SPAM act's criminal provisions, which prohibit the initiation of a "transmission to a protected computer of a commercial electronic mail message if such person has actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that a subject heading of the message would be likely to mislead a recipient, acting reasonably under the circumstances, about a material fact regarding the contents or subject matter of the message". Applying that language to divine the intent of Congress, the judge then rules that deceptive material in a spam e-mail must be believed by the recipient, and about a material fact, to be actionable.

      Now, given the facts in this case, that's not totally unreasonable. The e-mails bore a return address of "cruisedeals@cruise.com", which was non-functional. But the messages were, in fact, advertising "cruise.com" and were in fact initiated by the operators of "cruise.com". So this is not an anonymous spammer.

      This is key. The CAN-SPAM act protects spammers who properly identify themselves. (Those are today routinely caught by spam filters.) That was the clear intent of Congress, based on lobbying by the Direct Marketing Association. There was no willful obfusication by the sender here; it was clear that "cruise.com" was behind all this.

      This decision doesn't provide any relief for anonymous spammers and scammers.

  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:10PM (#17022824) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if Judge James Harvie Wilkinson III would be interested in letting me deposit sixty millions of American dollars into his bank accout for my deceased Nigerian prince brother while increasing the size of his manhood and curing any desease.
  • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:12PM (#17022866)
    J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote this opinion in the 4th circuit. He's Reaganite authoritarian on the most "conservative" appellate bench in the country. You might remember him as the brave patriot who upheld the right of the executive branch of the US Government to indefinitely detain any US Citizen with no access to counsel, court, or any legal process to challenge that detention.

    Basically, the 4th circuit is an incredibly hostile place for "the little guy" when challenging a big business.

    -Isaac
  • Irony (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cauchy ( 61097 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:13PM (#17022882)
    Ironically enough, when I read the article, and advertisement for www.cruise.com, the spammer in question, appeared at the bottom of the page. I wonder how many people will read this article and then feel inspired to shop for a cruise from them?
  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:22PM (#17023058)
    I can't understand why spammers aren't prosecuted as organized criminals. They hijack other people's computers as a business.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:23PM (#17023072)
    Is it defamation if it's posted as an opinion? Something like, "Hey, in my opinion this looks like spam to me. What do you think?" Aren't opinions protected?

    And isn't spam any unsolicited e-mail? How this didn't violate CAN-SPAM is amazing. Like to see this go to the SCOTUS.

    • by arniebuteft ( 1032530 ) <<buteft> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:33PM (#17024380)
      It's a sticky area of the law. The statement "Bush is an idiot" will always be protected opinion. The statement "In my opinion, Mr. Smith is a nasty pedophile" will never be protected as opinion (though it may be OK for other reasons). Simply adding the phrase "in my opinion" to a statement that is essentially a fact, offers no protection. Courts look at a number of factors to see if a statement is opinion or fact, including context, whether the statement is capable of a provable or unprovable meaning (usually the hallmark of a 'fact'), and so on.
    • And isn't spam any unsolicited e-mail?

      No, spam is unsolicited broadcast email.

      Every time you send mail to someone you've never sent mail to before, that's unsolicited email.

      Unsolicited broadcast email. Broadcast means it's bulk. More than that, broadcast means it's indiscriminate - real email from your bank telling you about a new branch isn't spam, they're your bank, they have a relationship with you... but the same message from a competing bank, sent to the same mix of people who are largely NOT their customers, that's spam. Unsolicited, of course, simply means you didn't ask for it.
  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:29PM (#17023174)
    The judge wouldn't want to endanger his primary source of r0ga1n, v1agra and c!a1is now, would he?
  • by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:35PM (#17023286)
    .....I have come to the decision to NEVER do business with your company, nor any of its subsidiaries. Your decision to utilize a means of advertising at the expense of consumers highlights the general business attitude your company has taken. Further emails to me will only reinforce this opinion, and quite possibly trigger a public effort, on my part, to make known to as many consumers as possible, via the internet, and any other means available to me, that your company is taking part in illegal activities (email advertising) at the expense of the very customers you are trying to do business with."

    I send this to as many spam adverts as I can. I simply cut and paste the exact same reply. And NOT to the address contained in the advert. I look up the SALES dept. address and send it to THEM. In EVERY instance I have done this, the mails stopped.
  • by 00Dan ( 903094 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:39PM (#17023376)
    I know a few of you will probably say "What's the judges email address, let's get him some spam"

    It will not work. The judge probably has the best spam filter money can buy- an assistant that prints off legitimate emails for him to read, or deletes spam every morning for him.

    That's true for just about anyone who is involved in legislation that can stop spam. Except for their home email account, they are probably ignorant of what the real world is like.

  • by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:44PM (#17023442)
    For some reason my business email which I rarely use started getting carpet bombed with spam a few weeks ago. I get up to fifty emails a day in the bulk folder and some in the main folder. I'd ignore the bulk folder but since it's primarily for business half the needed emails ends up in the bulk folder and I have accidentally deleted good emails. The odd thing is I have a personal email with the same service that gets maybe half a dozen a day. I rarely give out my business one but they got the address off some site because they are using my screen name in the heading. Definately automated because it's not a normal name. I can't believe nothing is being done about this. Business is loosing hundreds of millions, most estimates are in the billions a year, in time lost dealing with it let alone people that get suckered into the scams. If people were getting fifty phone calls a day from salesmen the issue would get resolved. The joke is more email is sent than phone calls so it's a bigger issue. It may seem like an inconvience but with looses between the scams and lost time running into the billions if not tens of billions a year it should be a priority with the government. In a sense ignoring the loss of life looking at strickly the dollar amounts involved we're talking about several 911s a year and no one is doing anything about it.
  • Federalism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Metasquares ( 555685 ) <slashdot&metasquared,com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:14PM (#17024028) Homepage
    The 4th Circuit may have laid waste to all of those efforts.
    IMO, the court is blameless here; they're doing their job and federal laws do tend to trump state ones. It's the CAN-SPAM act that laid waste to those efforts.
  • by Roger_Wilco ( 138600 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:18PM (#17024132) Homepage

    We need to set up mist net [wikipedia.org] throughout the homes of spammers, and put them out of our misery. A bounty on spammers seems the only way to solve the problem. :)

    We cannot claim the reward unless we have 51% of the carcass! —Apu

  • by drDugan ( 219551 ) * on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:50PM (#17025862) Homepage
    as I have said many times, america is over [slashdot.org]
  • by cdn-programmer ( 468978 ) <terr@ter r a l o g ic.net> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:10PM (#17028624)
    Ok everyone - get on the phone and call the company and advise them there is a boycott and they may lose some business over this.

    They need to be hit hard where it hurts, right in their pocket book.
    • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@@@slashdot...2006...taronga...com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:33PM (#17028800) Homepage Journal
      You expect a *spammer* to give a damn about that?
      • by cdn-programmer ( 468978 ) <terr@ter r a l o g ic.net> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @12:48AM (#17029270)
        Yes I expect a spammer to care.

        They are running a business in a competitive environment. The reason they were spamming is they were trying to increase business. Many businessmen do not see spamming as being significantly different than advertising. Remember commercials have been shoved down the throats of the TV watching public for decades. So why should folks think a computer is all that much different than a TV? Ie... if they can get away with it they will.

        A boycott mind you may get their attention and it may force them to drop the law suit. Negative public opinion is not good for business.
        • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@@@slashdot...2006...taronga...com> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @11:05AM (#17033614) Homepage Journal
          Yes I expect a spammer to care.

          I used to, back in the '90s. I used to contact the businesses referenced in the very few spams that I got that seemed to be for real non-scam products. At first, I got pretty good responses, but after a while it seemed that the remaining businesses that were still spamming knew exactly what they were were doing and what it cost in terms of lost sales, and just counted that as part of the cost of doing business.

          On the other hand... it's been five years since I've had time to micromanage my spam load that finely... but I really don't think things could have gotten better.

          On the gripping hand, if you really do organize a real boycott and get a lot of attention on it (set up a boycott website, promote it, get it BoingBoinged...) and it really DOES start hurting their sales, you might get somewhere. Most boycotts have little or no effect, and if they're crooked enough to spam they know that. Your mission would be to get one started that's one of the exceptional effective ones.

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