Guy Suing Spammers Under CAN-SPAM Told To Pay Legal Fees Of The Company He Sued

from the ouch dept

When Congress first passed the CAN SPAM law, they were very clear that it wasn't to be used by the everyday citizen to sue spammers. Instead, it was only for ISPs or the government. Of course, a group of anti-spam fighters quickly came up with loopholes, whereby they basically pretended to be an ISP for the sake of suing spammers. Back in May, we noted that one of the guys using this trick lost his case, as the judge pointed out that he clearly wasn't an ISP and was simply abusing CAN SPAM. Thus, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the same guy has now been ordered to pay $110k for the legal fees of the company he sued. The judge also blasts the guy for bringing frivolous lawsuits, noting that he basically set up an entire business whose only purpose is to bring lawsuits against those he accuses of spam. This ruling is likely to put something of a damper on these types of lawsuits. Many people may point out that it's unfortunate that guys like this can't sue spammers any more, but if you want to blame someone, it should be Congress for the wording of the CAN SPAM law (which was more intended to clarify what type of spam was legal, than to outlaw spam).


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Haywood, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 6:55am

    The purpose of government

    isn't to protect the citizens, it is to protect business from the citizens. That may nob how it was intended, but it is how it worked out.

     

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      Casper, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 7:12am

      Re: The purpose of government

      isn't to protect the citizens, it is to protect business from the citizens. That may nob how it was intended, but it is how it worked out.

      Normally I would be agreeing with you, but not in this case. This was an individual who abused the law to try to prove a point. The justice system is simply doing their job (for once) and turning it back on him for exploiting the law. He tried a loop hole and it didn't work, now he has to pay the consequences.

       

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      Andy, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 7:59am

      Re: The purpose of government

      Just remember that those same schlubs will be writing the Net Neutrality bill...

       

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      Silverhand, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:02am

      Re: The purpose of government

      The law is to be used as a shield, not a sword. Any person who comes to court expecting to use the law as a weapon should expect to get cut.

       

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        Sanguine Dream, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:26am

        Re: Re: The purpose of government

        Precisely. That sums up most of what is wrong with the law as well as the patent system today. The law is supposed to protect people from wrong doing, not allow people to attack others. And the patent system, I'd still like to know how patenting something that is obvious and unoriginal and using it to sue others into nothingness is supposed to encourage innovation...

         

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    Pete, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 7:12am

    Would like the rest of the story

    Maybe it is just me but why would an individual go to all the work and expense of creating a company just to "fight" SPAM? If the whole story is told, I would bet that this guy was going after "SPAM" companies money and could care less about stopping SPAM.

     

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      Jacco, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:05am

      Re: Would like the rest of the story

      And what exactly is wrong with that? It is not like spam companies got that money in a nice way.

       

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      Pat, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 8:35am

      Re: Would like the rest of the story

      So what if his motivation is outright profit? We are in a capitalistic society. This is a business opportunity like any other. Activities like this should be rewarded like any other risk/reward opportunity.

      I am very involved with politics. One of the first things you learn is that you just accept that your allies in a given fight are there for their own reasons, reasons that you may find "impure". But demanding "purity" of motivation quickly results in no allies and no wins.

       

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    Safty Dancer, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 7:20am

    RE: RE: The purpose of government

    It is not the guys fault that congress passed a shitty law. I still agree that he should not have tried to cheat the system, but he should have never been put in that situation. He needs punished, but that law should also be removed/replaced for a better law. I also agree with Haywood in that fact that it seems our (US) government is doing nothing but screwing the little guy (of course not everything congress does but a lot of it, and yes one or two things is a lot). Moral of the story, Yes our government is more worried about making money for the already wealthy, but that does not make it right for that guy to exploit the law.

     

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    That Guy, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 7:34am

    He's no hero

    This guy is no hero. He found a situation where companies with a lot of money were abusing citizens. He decided that he had a target that could pay out big dollars and a situation where there would be a lot of sympathy for the victims of the abuse.

    So he tried to work the system to make money for himself.

     

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      charlie potatoes, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 8:07am

      Re: He's no hero

      Let me see if I follow your reasoning. A little guy tries to make money off a big company who makes their money abusing little guys and he is no hero? ok.. so what is it that he did wrong..impersonate a Congressman? A CEO...? Very Republican reasoning, Guy. Lots of family values involved, im sure. Or is it homeland security he is violating? I never can remeber your excuse of the moment.

       

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        Casper, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 8:20am

        Re: Re: He's no hero

        Let me see if I follow your reasoning. A little guy tries to make money off a big company who makes their money abusing little guys and he is no hero? ok.. so what is it that he did wrong..impersonate a Congressman? A CEO...? Very Republican reasoning, Guy. Lots of family values involved, im sure. Or is it homeland security he is violating? I never can remeber your excuse of the moment.

        The company makes it's money doing shady business practices, so using shady practices to obtain their money makes him a hero? Two wrongs do not make a right. Also, it does not cost the average consumer enough money to give them the right to file a law suit, however, it does cost ISPs a lot of money. An ISP can sue on behalf of it's self or it's users, but the users can not sue because it would simply promote more stupidity in the courts.

        Just because something is annoying does not mean an individual has a right to sue. Hell, otherwise I would sue every advertiser on TV.

         

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          identicon
          Haywood, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 2:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: He's no hero

          "Two wrongs do not make a right."

          The hell you say!! I've heard that all my life and have yet to accept it as fact or see it proven.
          Let's take math; a positive times a positive= a positive
          a negative times a negative= a positive
          only a negative times a positive = a negative.
          In summary; only a wrong times a right = a wrong, so 2 wrongs indeed do = a right

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 2:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: He's no hero

            I agree with you. It's all well and good when some big company abuses laws and loop holes all over the place such as the RIAA/MPAA but when "the little guy" does the same he is smacked down so hard he doesn't know what hit him.

            Simply put if it's good for the goose (big company) it's good for the gander (little guy).

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2007 @ 12:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: He's no hero

            Your idiotic logic/example fails with simple addition:
            negative PLUS negative = negative
            negative PLUS positive = + or - depends on which one is greater, which better reflects life
            Fool.

             

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              Pat, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 8:44am

              Who flipping cares... this ain't Hollywood

              "Heroes" are for the movies. No one is a "hero" nor should anyone expect "heroes". You want a hero, go to the movies.

              Let me ask you something... if you are in a fire and the scummy child molester living next to you is going to save you .... do you refuse his help (and die) because he's "no hero"? Or do you accept his help and don't question his motivation behind helping save your sorry life?

              (I am sure you chose death -- so really the question is for others ;-) )

               

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      nipseyrussell, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 8:57am

      Re: He's no hero

      "This guy is no hero. He found a situation where companies with a lot of money were abusing citizens. ....So he tried to work the system to make money for himself."

      hmmm....i dont care what his ulterior motive might be if the result might have been halting the "abuse of citizens" . wouldn't it be nice if it was profitable to do the right thing, or right a wrong?? but alas, no, there is no motivation, financial or otherwise, to do the right thing.

       

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      Jacco, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:06am

      Re: He's no hero

      He is Robin Hood in my book.

       

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      Nasty Old Geezer, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:10am

      Re: He's no hero

      The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

      Spammers burn in hell.

       

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        |333173|3|_||3, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:40pm

        Re: Re: He's no hero

        Agreed, so long as we are not harmed by him, people like him should kepp it up (and I am not in the USA, so it costs me nothing for americans to smack down spammers like that).

         

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    BananaFish, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 7:34am

    If i ever came across one...

    Spam ruins all that is decent and good on the internet. If i ever came across one of these people, i wouldn't sue them.... i'd kill them.

    Years of frustration as a web developer and forum/community administrator are my motive. If i could go postal on the spam community, i most certainly would. It is a shame that the laws in this country don't allow me that right.

     

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    Stuart, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 7:52am

    Always kill the spammer

    No jail. No fines. Death.
    Same to the idiots abusing the court systems to make money.
    Death to the companies that spend all their time filing obvious patents and suing the companies that produce products.

     

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      Greg, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:59am

      Re: Always kill the spammer

      Now why can't government just see the obvious. If you want to risk being a spammer, and get caught, you should be put to death. It is just that simple.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 7:55am

    Good try but...

    I have to agree that while his heart was in the right place he shouldn't have tried to use a loophole. If this were a business trying to use a loophole like that (and succeeded) would this post have been worded the same? I doubt it.

    The real problem here is the law itself that specifically only looks out for ISPs and other businesses. I'm sure if any of the legislators that supported this law actually had the people in mind it would have been worded properly but since most citizens can't afford to buy a politician we get left out in the cold.

     

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    Jezsik, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 8:03am

    "anti-spam fighters"?

    I think that should have been either "anti-spam proponents" or "spam fighters."

     

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    identicon
    william, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 8:03am

    so what

    If this guy makes a living keeping spam out of my inbox and driving those a-holes out of business god bless him. So what if he isn't an ISP and so what if he makes money doing it. Everyone of this site acts like making money is some kind of crime unto itself.

     

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    BananaFish, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: He's no hero by Casper

    "Just because something is annoying does not mean an individual has a right to sue. Hell, otherwise I would sue every advertiser on TV."


    hahahaha....
    touche friend!

     

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    Gauge, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 8:39am

    We need this guy

    "The judge also blasts the guy for bringing frivolous lawsuits, noting that he basically set up an entire business whose only purpose is to bring lawsuits"

    Can we get this judge to oversee patent suits from now on?

     

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    jLl, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:28am

    dumbass

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to support spammers.

    But, if a guy's dumb enough to walk into a court room, lying as obviously as he was, then I'm glad the 'tard lost the case and had to pay royally for his stupidity.

    Yeah, it's easy to blame congress for not making a better law; but, there's also been more than enough bitching about bad tech laws. They're in a catch-22. At least they found something that works to whatever extent it can rather than being argued for all of their misunderstandings of technology.

     

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    Ummm, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 9:34am

    "I remain frustrated that so much regulatory attention is focused on curbing marketers' abuse while comparatively little attention is given to curbing marketing plaintiffs' abuse."

    Says Eric in the article, who hopefully is aware that the Can Spam Act's primary purpose was in fact to PROTECT marketers....

     

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    Jack, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 10:19am

    The law has good intentions. It tries to prevent every end user from clogging up the legal system with spam lawsuits. Instead it tries to delegate the responsibility to the ISP to prosecute spammers. Unfortunately, not many ISP's have used the law to go after spammers. So it's really your ISP's fault for being lazy and not wanting to provide spam free email service.

     

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    Robert Cannon, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 10:29am

    Citation?

    Do you have a citation for the court decision or a link to the order?

     

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    Paul, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 12:08pm

    Did you read the order?

    Before you hire a lawyer, be sure to Google any judments they may be a party to. While the judge did grant fees, he really rakes them over the coals for the terrible submission they made and the incredibly bad accounting it contained. Had they submitted a list of charges that weren't obviously inflated or even just made sense, they likely would have been awarded far more.

    On the other hand, it sounds like the plaintif made his far share of mistakes as well. He might have very well have won his suit had he made a competent showing. To me, it sounds like the judge was sick of the crap both were spewing...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Amy Alkon, Aug 8th, 2007 @ 12:25pm

    Comments Spam

    Until two days ago, I was spending at least a half hour a day dealing with the spam on my blog. That's when my boyfriend and tech support guru, after hours and hours dealing with this in the past, spent two days researching the problem and installing Akismet, which works for MT blogs like mine now, too. Amazing resource -- keeps much of the spam from ever hitting my site at all. Back to the subject here, however, spammers are thieves, and laws need to be changed to reflect that. I don't maintain a web connection or a site to help businesses save on marketing costs, so to post spam in the comments on my site selling your whatever is vandalism and theft.

     

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    NetworkElf, Aug 9th, 2007 @ 5:41am

    Not anti-spam

    These sorts of people are not anti-spam. They are anti-spammer. There is a difference. They are not looking to improve the spam situation, they are looking for attention and adulation from other anti-spammers.

     

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    Justadakaje, May 22nd, 2008 @ 4:45am

    Two suggested actions

    I completely understand where this guy "may" be coming form in wanting to target a known SPAMMER. If the plaintiff is sincere in his motives of actually wanting to be able to take down a SPAMMER. On the other hand, the fact he deliberately and falsely created an ISP Company for the sole purpose of being able to exercise his rights to sue someone under CAN-SPAM is wrong.

    The court did the correct thing in making this guy pay. However, I think the court still needs to take the case into consideration and bring judgement against known-spammers like this, no matter where the evidence came from. Maybe we all need to write to the Congress and suggest they edit the Act to clarify such loop hole from ever happening in the first place.

     

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    George M. Shrub, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 5:50pm

    I H8 spammers

    DISGUSTING! Ugly spammer got richer $110,000??? If I was him I'd do something to the spammers and leave the country.
    Those bastards send you massive messages "complying" the CAN-SPAM "law" that legalizes the hated spammers and then when you unsubscribe you get more spam!!! And the spam@uce.gov is paid by spammers to catch your "complaints"! The GOV-MENT and the CON-GRESS all are paid by spammers to annoy us regulars and to control population...

     

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    diespammer, Dec 30th, 2010 @ 9:01pm

    Push Spammers off a cliff

    As a web developer for a decade I have wasted thousands of man hours keeping spam off my clients sites and email. These guys are a scourge, should be sued into poverty. I don't care if the guy is a hero or not but if what he does reduces spam on the net then good for him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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