Courts Notice That CAN SPAM Isn't Supposed To Be A Tool For Individuals
from the sit-down-and-accept-your-spam dept
When the CAN SPAM law was first passed, there were a number of complaints about the bill, including the fact that only the FTC or an ISP were allowed to bring a lawsuit under the bill. Over the years, a number of "spam fighters" have used some loopholes to basically pretend they were an ISP (or set up a really minor ISP business) in order to then sue spammers under the law. However the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court may be putting an end to that practice after dismissing a case because the plaintiff wasn't a real ISP. Other courts may interpret the law differently, but it certainly could limit the ability of individual spam fighters to keep using CAN SPAM as a weapon against spammers. Of course, this is exactly what Congress intended. When CAN SPAM was first put in place, it really was designed not to prevent spam, but to legalize it for direct marketers. It was, really, pointing out what rules direct marketers needed to follow in order to keep spamming. And, for that to work, it meant not having to deal with pesky lawsuits from individuals who are annoyed by spam. So, the court ruling in this case is probably exactly right in terms of what Congress intended. It's just not what most of us would have liked.