Suing Spam Spoofers For Trademark Infringement

from the good-luck-with-that dept

It’s been nearly two years since I got hit with my first big “joe job,” when a spammer sent out his usual batch of spam messages using my email address as the “from:” — resulting in tons of bounce backs, autoreplies and angry responses from users who didn’t know the email address was obviously spoofed. Since then, the problem of spoofed joe job emails has only gotten worse, and combined with phishing, you can pretty much assume that most of the spam you get these days has a “from” email address that has nothing to do with the spammer. Now, one group is trying to use that fact against spammers. Even though CAN-SPAM says it’s illegal to spoof the sender, individual companies are limited in taking action against spammers. So, in this case, the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy wants to sue spoofers for trademark infringement. Of course, the one big assumption in all of this is that they’ll be able to track down the spammers. The group seems to dismiss this by saying you can “sue whoever sponsors the spam” and have them point you to the actual spammer. Unfortunately, it’s not always so easy to figure out who sponsors the spam either. Lots of spam these days isn’t clearly “sponsored” by anyone — especially when it’s for phishing purposes. It would be great if this actually did take down some spammers, but if it were really that easy, there would already have been many trademark infringement lawsuits against spammers.

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