Would You Take Investment Advice From A Spyware Distributor?

from the your-customers-are-gonna-love-that dept

It turns out that record labels and movie studios aren't the only companies that treat their customers like criminals. So do writers of investment newsletters. The investment newsletter industry is basically what it sounds like. A company or an individual writes up a regular (often monthly) report filled with forecasts and picks and then send it to clients, for what is typically a rather high fee. But they know content like this is easily copied and passed around, so some of them, even in this day and age, are sent on physical paper by mail, in an attempt to make it just a little more difficult to re-distribute it than forwarding an email. The writer of one newsletter, who does distribute it electronically, is suing one of its corporate customers for copying it and passing it around. And how did he find this out? Because through his website, he installed spyware on the computers of all his clients that tracks what happens to the document. Even if he successfully sues the company, you really have to wonder about whether this was a good idea. Now all of his corporate clients, of which there are many, know him as a distributor of spyware, so either they'll stop doing business with the guy -- or maybe they'll get someone from IT to just disable it.
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  • identicon
    Ryan, 2 Nov 2006 @ 10:45am

    class action?

    can't all of his customers now sue him for this?

    I've always thought installing something on somebody's computer without consent should be (if it isn't already) illegal... and for him to sue his customer, he has to admit to breaking the law himself.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2006 @ 11:49am

      Re: class action?

      who said the content management and reporting software (spyware) was installed without consent? ever heard of an EULA?

      I read TFA but I didn't see any mention of it. Surely they had to click AGREE or OK on something with an EULA before having access to the paid content on his website, probably in the same process as signing up with their cc/whatever info to pay for that content...

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

  • identicon
    Robert, 2 Nov 2006 @ 10:47am

    Past and Present

    It used to be illegal for people to do this... maybe it still is? I can never be sure anymore, since so many big companies are getting away with it. Even if Sony replaced tons of CD's with user tracking DRM, I don't think they were really 'punished'. That must be why there's a new story everyday saying how X company put tracking software on their customers before claiming it was an honest mistake. The local DA on this case however already has an admittance of guilt here, and I'd like to see this guy taken down and made an example of.

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

  • identicon
    John, 2 Nov 2006 @ 11:38am

    sue?

    I think legally someone had to click a button that said "I agree."

    Someone had to know about the spyware prior to this revelation.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2006 @ 11:57am

    not really, just clicking i agree doesn't mean you read the elua. how many people read every elua for computer stuff?

    i don't think i've read one through and through

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

  • identicon
    Walter Dnes, 2 Nov 2006 @ 4:28pm

    Was it

    He could easily do an HTML newsletter, that includes an image from his webserver. While that might be reprehensible, I don't think it's illegal. But installing executable code is totally another thing.

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

  • identicon
    Matt Bennett, 24 May 2007 @ 11:30am

    *shrug* Most sales organizations use similar tracking cookies and html files.

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


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