Making Spam Illegal Under Copyright And Trademark Law

from the creative-plans dept

I’m not so sure this will work, but one company is trying to get more creative in how they can let people sue spammers, even if no spam law is violated. It’s taken me a few reads to understand what they do, but it sounds like the system embeds a haiku (along with copyright info) in the headers of the email message. So, you let people know to include that haiku in the headers and you know it’s legitimate email. There are rules, however, on what conditions people are allowed to use the haiku, and if they violate them (i.e., spam you), you can sue them for violating the copyright on the haiku. It’s a creative solution, but I doubt it will work. First, it creates a pretty big burden on anyone who wants to send email to you. Most people I know have no clue how to embed anything in the headers, and have even less of a desire to learn. Second, while I imagine most spammers will simply ignore this, even if some do spam you with the haiku, you still need to track them down – and then prove the monetary damages from the copyright infringement (a tough case, at best). So, while it sounds like a creative solution, it doesn’t sound particularly effective. Update: This Wired article about the company has more details. It seems the system works like some of those other “bonded” services, where people have to put up a warranty amount that gets charged if they violate the spam definitions. They also point out that this system would be useful in getting rid of the problem of spam filters completely blocking out legitimate email from things like newsletters.

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