from the time-to-get-a-job dept
Back when CAN SPAM was passed, one of the (many) parts that annoyed anti-spam fighters was that the law was quite clearly limited in who could bring lawsuits. It was basically designed so that only the government or ISPs could bring lawsuits — not individuals. This was done on purpose, as lots of marketing companies freaked out that they’d end up dealing with constant spam lawsuits from people upset about receiving their marketing messages. However, some anti-spammers worked on ways to get around this by setting themselves up as “ISPs,” though only for the purpose of trying to sue spammers. This strategy backfired. A couple of years ago, one of the most fervent supporters of using this trick (his only “job” was filing these lawsuits against spammers) lost his case, and the court even told him to pay $110k to the firm he had sued.
He appealed, and the appeals court came down even harder on the guy for clearly abusing the law, pointing out that he was clearly a professional litigant, and not someone running a real ISP. But, perhaps even more fascinating is that the guy, James Gordon, didn’t just lose the lawsuit, it appears he lost most of his possessions as well. Remember that ruling telling him to pay the $110k to Virtumundo? He refused. The company sent the debt to a collections agency, but told Gordon they’d call off the collections agency if he dropped the appeal. Gordon didn’t:
When Virtumundo’s collections lawyer showed up at Gordon’s house with a moving van and a sheriff, Virtumundo again offered to stop its pursuit of Gordon’s assets if he would drop his appeal, and he refused again, according to Newman.
Virtumundo’s collections agency then cleared out Gordon’s house, according to Newman.
He added that after seizing the contents of Gordon’s home, Virtumundo offered to return Gordon’s belongings if he would drop his appeal and again, Gordon refused.
As much as I thank anti-spam activists for trying to stomp out spam, that doesn’t mean they get to ignore what the law allows, and set up what was effectively a professional anti-spam litigation service.