Setting The Rules For ISPs And Spammers

from the contract-is-a-contract? dept

An interesting article from Declan McCullough about a lawsuit that will have an impact on a number of different spam-related issues. The case is about a guy who Earthlink cut off from his email account after accusing him (incorrectly) of spamming. Earthlink then continued to collect his email, rather than sending some sort of bounce to let senders know the account was inactive. The first issue is whether or not it was legal for Earthlink to just cut him off – which, according to their contract, it seems pretty clear it was. The second issue is whether they could keep those emails without letting people know the account had been canceled. I agree that this is a very bad policy, but I’m not sure what’s illegal about it. Finally, the guy is suing Earthlink for libel – saying that by incorrectly putting him on their spammers list it was guilty of libel. The end result of this part may have the biggest impact – as it could set a precedent for all the anti-spam “blacklist” organizations out there. If they incorrectly put a spammer on the list, are they guilty of libel? Declan’s take on all this is to side with the ISP – suggesting that there was a contractual relationship, and the guy in question should have read the contract more carefully. Of course, when all ISPs offer the same terms, you don’t have much of a choice.

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