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Spam Your Rights Online

Australian Spammer Sues Back 416

Posted by timothy
from the gird-well-your-loins dept.
Vilorman writes: "We've all heard the one about the spammers begin sued. Now, an Ausie spammer is suing back, for being blacklisted. Claiming damages and equipment replacement costs and so on. The whole article is over at Yahoo. So, I guess now, not only are we subjected to the spam, but we can't block it either?"
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Australian Spammer Sues Back

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  • by jeffy124 (453342)
    how the heck does replacing equipment that factor in? I can understand where they're coming from in terms of damages, but replacing equipment? Isnt it just a configuration flag or something in the mail relay?
    • by Winged Cat (101773) <wingcat@pa[ ]ll.net ['cbe' in gap]> on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:15PM (#3612562)
      Apparently, the IP addresses counted as "equipment" that had to be replaced, not to mention the email system. <shakes head>

      T3 is seeking loss and damages of $7,907 (AU$14,000) for replacing blocked or compromised IP numbers, $2,683 (AU$4,750) for labor costs of technicians to establish an alternative e-mail system, $2,824 (AU$5,000) to purchase a new server computer and $11,296 (AU$20,000) for loss of income it claims to have incurred over a 20-day waiting period for a new Internet connection to be installed.

      None of which was necessary. Change business models so as *not* to spam, which was the action requested (and quite probably spelled out in email to the spammer at one point), and none of that moeny would have had to be spent (unless "closing open relays and no longer spamming" counts as "establishing an alternative email system", but that's still brought upon self).

      Jeremy Malcolm, an independent Perth-based solicitor who specializes in IT law and is representing McNichol [the defendant], said he wouldn't be putting in a defense straight away and would be applying for a summary judgment in the hopes of not having to go to trial.

      Damn straight!

      Malcolm described the statement of claim against his client as a ?fairly weak claim?brought about to intimidate a critic of T3 Direct.?

      Isn't that the definition of a SLAPP suit in the States?
    • you understand better than you think. Meaning, right, there's absolutely NO DAMN NEED to replace said equipment. It's obvious that this lawsuit is frivolous, an attempt from the spammer to annoy and harass the spamee or the guys who keep the spammer list into not messing with him. (either that, or the spammer's tech guy said all that stuff was needed and is just ripping off the spammer).

      Personally I think that kind of behavior merits physical violence, but that's just me. :)
    • Unlike in the US, Australia has a mechanism to deter frivolous lawsuits, the loser pays the costs of both sides. Moreover since the case is completely unfounded the probability that the costs would be assesed on the indemnity scale are good.

      The article does not state the grounds on which the case is brought. Tort law is quite restrictive, the issue is not whether you have sufered a loss, the issue is whether the defendant had a legal liability for the loss. There being no contract between any of the parties in the case breach of contract or inducing breach of contract is not going to apply. The spam victim had no responsibility to the spammer to provide service.

      The only grounds I can think of that the spammer could claim to have a case is in libel. To win the case the spammer would have to claim that the statement made was false, i.e. that he was not spamming. While Australia shares the corrupt libel laws of the UK it is unlikely that the issue of whether the ISP was spamming or not would be hard to determine.

      It would be interesting to know the history of the law firm acting for the plaintif. If the court comes to the same conclusion concerning the case as many on slashdot it would not go well for them.

  • In other news... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bonker (243350) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:01PM (#3612408)
    ...A robber once successfully sued a homeowner because he fell out of a window and broke his leg while escaping after a heist.

    This is bullshit. Spam is theft. Spammers steal the use of bandwidth, machine use, and disk space from ISPs and users. Any court who even thinks twice about letting this go to trial will be so caught up in legal technicalities that it won't hear *any* trial fairly.
    • The lesson from that trial, of course, is "dead men tell no tales." Also, "if they fall out, drag them back in before calling the cops."
    • ...A robber once successfully sued a homeowner because he fell out of a window and broke his leg while escaping after a heist.

      Citation, please. If you can't provide one, I'm going to have to agree with Snopes [snopes2.com] in that it's likely an urban legend.

    • Re:In other news... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ChristTrekker (91442)

      Yup. If you have to defend your home with force, you're better off killing an intruder than wounding him. And if he makes it outside onto the lawn before expiring, drag him back inside just to be sure his family can't sue you for killing an innocent passer-by. *sigh* Mighty sad commentary on our screwed-up legal system.

      On the other hand, this guy is innocent until proven guilty, and deserves his day in court. Is there a clause in the law that says it's your own fault if you are injured (however injury is defined in the particular situation) during commission of a crime? There should be. It could be called the "Personal Responsibility Act".

      • by dadragon (177695)
        On the other hand, this guy is innocent until proven guilty, and deserves his day in court. Is there a clause in the law that says it's your own fault if you are injured (however injury is defined in the particular situation) during commission of a crime? There should be. It could be called the "Personal Responsibility Act".

        The problem is that injury compensation and the like are covered in tort law. That means that judges and not legislators define the law. It's 100% precident.

        OTOH a spammer IS innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to his day in court. It's his legal right to confront his accusers (the blacklist people) and I don't blame him for trying.
        • OTOH a spammer IS innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to his day in court.

          *ONLY* if he is charged with a crime.

          It's his legal right to confront his accusers (the blacklist people)

          *ONLY* if he is accused in court testimony.

          and I don't blame him for trying.

          I do blame him for trying. It's as bad as an actress trying to sue a magazine for listing her on their "10 worst dressed" list. It is a privately compiled list and the list has no legal weight - therefore you do NOT get to "confront your accuser" in court.

          -
    • So this makes me think of some low-life, sitting in a basement in front of a computer. He presses the send key, and suddenly jumps up and repeatedly screams, "Eat it bitch! Eat it all up! Hormel never tasted this good!" at the computer screen.

      Spammers and those amateur pornography guys behind the camera....I can't figure out which one is sleazier.

    • As noted by others, this was an "urban legend" invented by the U.S. insurance industry while they were seeking liability limits for lawsuits.

      At one time, when confronted, the insurance industry cited a Canadian (Ontario) lawsuit, which they said involved "burglars falling through a skylight." In fact, the case involved student atheletes who had been locked out of their gym, and who were asked by the coach to enter through the roof. Someone had painted over skylights with black paint, and one of the students stepped onto the black surface, not realizing it was glass (after all, the student knew from being in the gym that there were no skylights), the painted glass broke, and he fell through and was seriously injured. The case was settled (quite properly, since the school clearly was negligent both through the coach's direction to students to engage in a a dangerous activity (climbing on a roof) AND by painting a skylight black without posting warnings for persons who were properly on the roof.)

  • The article, and quotes in the article, both call the case a "first".

    Didn't ORBS get sued?

    • This lawsuit is against a end user. Not a anti spam list or anything like it. This was a user complainig over spam to an organisation like ORBS. This resulted in a shutdown (whether it's the end users fault or not isn't known) of the spammer...

      Well... i would like to see a trial like this over here.. hell... i even volunteer in such a case to be the end user....
  • by HerrGlock (141750) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:03PM (#3612428) Homepage
    I do not care if you have a business, there are too many ways for you to advertise already, you do not have to require the entire world to listen to your sales pitch.

    The RBL and similar are volunteer organizations, there is no requirement for them to be used by anyone or any company. This is not even an issue because people are only securing their own networks from overloaded mail traffic. If this gentleman wants to solicit, it would be better to start a page for the company and then go looking for handshakes to put his banner on other pages, if he uses that, then people expect to get ads. Forcing his way into your personal mailbox is not a right in any country that I'm aware of.

    DanH
    • The RBL, to the best of my knowledge, is not now a "volunteer" organization since they went to a subscription model in order to use their lists.

      SPEWS, on the other hand, seems to be a volunteer organization. If anyone knew who operated it, I'd go ask them about it. But they don't ask for money, and they've been incredibly successful in getting spammers to whine a lot about their e-mail getting rejected.
  • by datastew (529152) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:05PM (#3612447)
    T3 is seeking loss and damages of $7,907 (AU$14,000) for replacing blocked or compromised IP numbers, $2,683 (AU$4,750) for labor costs of technicians to establish an alternative e-mail system, $2,824 (AU$5,000) to purchase a new server computer and $11,296 (AU$20,000) for loss of income. . .

    He needs a new server? Maybe so he can run more effective anti-spam filter programs.

    Seems to me that he is relying on the judge not being too technologically savvy.

  • Oh, get a grip. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Wing Lover (106357) <awh@awh.org> on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:05PM (#3612451) Homepage

    So, I guess now, not only are we subjected to the spam, but we can't block it either?

    People sue for things all the time. It doesn't mean that the case has any merit whatsoever.

    • People sue for things all the time. It doesn't mean that the case has any merit whatsoever.

      The merit, or otherwise, of this case is irrelevant. In the US -- and presumably Australia as well -- defending against litigation is ruinously costly. Any sociopathic jackass can file suit against you for any reason whatsoever. You cannot ignore the suit or fail to appear, or the court will summarily rule for the sociopathic jackass. If the case has even the remotest hint of a legal question unanswered by law, the court will hear the case.

      At that point, your wallet is emptied. Even if you are completely exonerated, you're still out tens of thousands of dollars in court costs, fees, and lawyer's time. Furthermore, you can't recover those costs from the sociopathic jackass, because proving the suit was filed maliciously is nearly impossible.

      All that money you had saved for a new server, an Internet connection upgrade, or even a new house? Gone. You can't afford to run your spammer blacklist anymore. Meanwhile, the socipathic jackass continues to rake in money from idiots buying his spamming services. The term Pyrrhic Victory [everything2.org] would apply here, except that the sociopathic jackass wasn't defeated, merely beaten off, free to harass some other hapless sucker.

      If we can't get our corrupt legislators to pass anti-spem legislation, then perhaps we can at least get them to pass legislation stating that an accusation of spamming does not confer upon the accused a right of action against the accuser. That will at least free the blacklists to operate with minimal harassment.

      Schwab

      • The merit, or otherwise, of this case is irrelevant. In the US -- and presumably Australia as well -- defending against litigation is ruinously costly. Any sociopathic jackass can file suit against you for any reason whatsoever. You cannot ignore the suit or fail to appear, or the court will summarily rule for the sociopathic jackass. If the case has even the remotest hint of a legal question unanswered by law, the court will hear the case.
        IANAL. But I am Australian. And, for my sins, was once tasked with doing some work on a Database consisting of legislation and case law for Western Australia, so I know just enough to be dangerous.

        What you're saying isn't completely true. What the defendent has to do in the case of being hit with a "frivolous lawsuit" is to

        1. Get a lawyer. Usually two lawyers, a solicitor, and if it goes to Court, a barrister, except in Western Australia [ditpublishing.com]
        2. There is no 2 if the suit is truly frivolous
        What will happen is that all costs of professional legal representation will be met by the opposing party when the court throws the case out, and the barrister's application for costs is granted. If you represent yourself, tough, you get nada for your time and trouble. IMHO this is purely to protect the legal profession - it's cheaper to get a lawyer than not. As regards costs, there are set scales for lawyers to charge, and costs to be given to em. Lots of set scales, depending on circumstances. This bit seems very complex, IANAL, and I can't give you many details, just that charging more than scale is a no-no that lawyers have been known to be disbarred for. If you're really interested in the average costs of litigation, look here [austlii.edu.au].
        Barratry is effectively prohibited in Western Australia. The American practice of a lawyer working for a share of the proceeds of a civil action is considered terribly bad form. It is not specifically illegal, but West Australian law invalidates any such agreement. There is nothing to stop the client from keeping the lot and refusing to pay the lawyer.

        What it boils down to is that being sued by some "vexatious litigant" will just cost you time (ie some money), a lot of worry, but will cost the other party dearly. And if someone immensely rich uses lots of frivolous lawsuits to harrass you, they will get done for the crime of Barratry IIRC. And pretty soon they won't be rich any more. Neither will you, though you might get enough compensation so you're not hurtin. But the lawyers will wax fat. That bit doesn't change between the US and Oz.

  • by bberg (516819) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:06PM (#3612457) Homepage
    I'm always telling my employer that if he isn't carefull we will get blacklisted, sense we are ridding a "grey line" with our mailings. I'm just waiting for the day I can tell him "I told you so". Now that he purchased an email farming program I be that day will come sooner than later.
  • Look at this:

    Why I love spam [com.com]

    Damn, I think I'd punch that guy in the face.

    • I agree with your conclusion on the article

      Hit delete.

      I hit delete, and I'm free. As for the rest of my spam: Keep it coming!


      he forgot a few steps though
      Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete... Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete ,Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete, Hit delete....

      Either way this guy is missing the point entirely, we hate spam because we didn't ask for it if he likes spam he can ask for himself to be put on mailing lists. Not only then will the not get the porno and 2 credit card offers a day he doesn't like but he would get more things that suit him because he requested things material like that. New laws like the one the EU is proposing would work only to his benefit. This is just one uninformed opinion contrasted against mine and the vast majority of other /.ers uninformed opinions. And I think we're winning:)


    • about the writer

      Barry Dennis is president of Netweb, an Internet and offline marketing and public relations agency.


      I would expect the president of Hormel's PR department to wax nostalgic and gush about how tastey pink processed meat products are too.
    • I notice that this Barry Dennis asshole doesn't give out his email address so we can forward all our spam to him.

      If he likes spam, it must be because he has a small dick, wants porn, has small boobs, wants porn, craves herbal viagra, wants porn, wants some more porn, needs a second mortgage, wants porn, free airline tickets, and porn. Oh, and some more of that porn, with the hairy barely 18 models with big boobs getting raped by animals in an orgy.

      Fuckers.

      Incidentally, this "netweb" shit is the one with the Geocities page and the AOL email address, right? Obviously a class act.

  • Free speech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdavidb (449077) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:07PM (#3612472) Homepage Journal

    I'm usually an extreme free speech advocate. I've even been known to argue for the right to yell fire in a crowded theater. That said, free speech gives you the right to speak, not the right to force someone to hear you, and certainly not the right to force someone else to bear the cost of publication. The newspaper editor doesn't have to pay to publish your letter, Rob Malda and andover.net don't have to pay to let you post your comment, and I don't have to pay to download your spam. And free speech also means the other guy has a right to say, "Don't listen to this guy; he's a knucklehead." (or "don't accept IP traffic from this host, it's a spammer")

    • Re:Free speech (Score:5, Informative)

      by Caradoc (15903) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:09PM (#3612512) Homepage
      Bingo. Your "right" to send e-mail ends at my MX. I'm under no obligation to accept incoming e-mail at all.

      Spam isn't a "free speech" issue. It's a "theft of resources" issue according to CompuServe vs. Cyber Promotions, wherein the judge decided that spamming was indeed "actionable trespass of chattel."
    • by jesser (77961)
      The problem with yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater is that the person sitting next to you will yell "bullshit!" and everyone near you will pour coke on you for disturbing their enjoyment of the movie.
  • "it could end up bigger than Ben Hur."

    Yeah, if you can get sued just for claiming that a well-known spammer is spammer, this will be a blockbuster in courthouses over the world...

    I can already see the next generation of spam... "Make $$$$$$$$ free!!!! Sue anti-spammers!!!! "

    • I can already see the next generation of spam... "Make $$$$$$$$ free!!!! Sue anti-spammers!!!! "

      Or, if this case gets tossed out and anti-spam laws go into effect...

      "Make $$$$$$$$ free!!!! Sue spammers!!!! (But not us, please.)"
  • If that estimate they gave for "loss of income" for 20 days is justifiable (which of course, it may not be), it is likely that SPAM is NEVER going away.
    Not if you can recur the cost for a good SPAM server w/in the first week of operations.

    However, those numbers are probably bloated, and this is all speculation. But still, the fact that they can *still* make money off of SPAM indicates a greater problem than just the inconvenience of unwanted mail in your mailbox. It means lots of people are paying attention, and spending money, and supporting the whole system.
    • Well you didn't think that spammers were doing this for nothing, with the hopes of advancing the causes of the non-profit "Larger Penises for All Mankind" group did you?

      Obviously there are plenty of morons out there who buy some of this junk or it would just go away.
  • Case Record Web Site (Score:5, Informative)

    by TekPolitik (147802) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:09PM (#3612507) Journal
    The official web site of the defence is at http://t3-v-mcnicol.ilaw.com.au/ [ilaw.com.au] (Mirror [perth.hm]). There are also plans to set up a defence fund [perth.hm].
  • Personally, I don't think the sapmmer will win this one. There is case history [epic.org] saying that an ISP has every right to filter out spam they do not want.

    Now, this is a case that happened in the US instead of Austrailia, so it may not be able to be cited in this particular law suit, but it shows that courts do not feel that spammer have a God-given right to send their mail to anyone and everyone they want to.

    - Sam

  • A programmer with $8 000 monthly salary killed a spammer, resulting in a 50 year penalty.

    Penalized programmer seeks compensation for $4 800 000 lost income (programmer has so vague understanding of money, that he forgets that this does not represent the correct value after 50 years ;)

    So, how actually does this differ from this spammer's case?
  • This is such a joke (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pogle (71293) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:13PM (#3612547) Homepage
    If they're losing ~$10,000USD in 20 days, can they even afford the legal fees for long? Is it worth it for them, if they are that low profit, to invest thousands and thousands of dollars into lawyers for a court battle?

    Think about it all you American /.ers...we could each send them a dollar to recoup their 'losses'.... just make sure you write something nasty about spammers on the bill.

    Or we could send the bill to the guy being sued to use in his defense...we'd bury T3 Direct's legal fund in a day ;-)

    Or...I could buy a soda. Mmmm...caffeine...
  • Precident (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gnovos (447128) <gnovos AT chipped DOT net> on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:20PM (#3612642) Homepage Journal
    What kind of precident will it set if he wins? Well, very simply, it will open the doors for DDoS kiddies to get away with thier attacks quite legally (in Austrailia at least) simply by making sure each ping packet that goes out contains an ad for a get rich quick scheme... This is some bad, bad stuff.

  • "T3 is seeking loss and damages of $7,907 (AU$14,000) for replacing blocked or compromised IP numbers, $2,683 (AU$4,750) for labor costs of technicians to establish an alternative e-mail system, $2,824 (AU$5,000) to purchase a new server computer


    So because his IP was being blocked he HAD to get a new $2800 server? IP's are NOT hardcoded into the box (MAC addresses in the NIC's are) Does he relly think that little addition is going to go unnoticed?


    and $11,296 (AU$20,000) for loss of income it claims to have incurred over a 20-day waiting period for a new Internet connection to be installed"


    So this guy makes $564 a day with this shit?!
    Maybe you really can get rich quick (in court, of course)...
  • Making Mistakes. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lionchild (581331)
    What if this weren't about spam email, but about a mechanic who worked on someones car? If your mechanic mis-diagnoses your car, puts in the wrong part, and causes more damage than when he started, do you expect him to fix it all, and fix it right? And if he doesn't, you have to take it to someone else, do you have a valid case to make the first mechanic pay the bill?

    Of course it all hinges on the fact that the first mechanic -did- make a mistake. If not, then you're out the cost of the lawyer too.
    • by Darth (29071)
      did you read the article? how does that description compare at all to what is in the article?

      A more appropriate analogy would be :

      A mechanic opens a shop down the street. Every day you come out and find stupid fliers on the winshield of your (and everyone else in the apt. complex's) car. You complain about it and someone who works for the complex hears about it. The apt. complex tells the mechanic to stop soliciting on their private property and annoying their customers. The mechanic sues you for interfering with his advertising.

      It isnt a simple mistake. He knows what he's doing is, at the least, not appreciated by the majority of the people he affects. At the most, he knows that many countries are passing laws restricting that kind of behaviour.

      He's gambling that he'll get away with it, and now he's gambling that some guy who has a vague connection to his being blocked will cave, settle out of court and help him cover the cost of setting up a new spam system so he can get back to business as usual.

  • Countersue (Score:2, Funny)

    by HaeMaker (221642)
    I think this guy should counter-sue. Now that news of this suit has reached /., his site is now unreachable. Thus creating a DDoS.

    This DDoS was created as a direct result of the lawsuit being filed.
  • by Erik Hensema (12898) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:32PM (#3612798) Homepage

    Mailservers are private. Nobody can force me to receive anybody's mail. I can block whoever I want using whatever method I like. If I want to block connections using some blacklist, that's MY choice. The blacklist only offers me advice on what connection to accept or not. I can freely choose to follow that advice or not.

    In short: sue whoever you like. You'll loose.

    • Except this isn't what the case is about. What it's about is the ability to put an organization onto a black hole list. An individual's right to block a sender isn't in question. If you read the complaint, the plaintiff claims that the defendant made an "unfounded complaint" (i.e. he lied).

      In essence, it's basically just a libel case. Party X says party Y is bad, and no one should have anything to do with them. Party Y suffers because of this. Party Y wants to be compensated for their losses.

      There are more and more of these cases on the net these days... companies are suing people who post on various forums, usually with respect to the company's performance and stock evaluation. Oftentimes just the lawsuit is enough to get people to back down... post retractions, and whatnot.

      In these cases, the ultimate defense is the truth. Here, it looks entirely probable that what the defendent said ("these guys are spammers") is true. In which case, the company really has no case. It would just be a question of proving the company sent spam. Spamming doesn't even have to be against the law in order for the defendant to win. As long as what he said was well-founded, he'll win.

      Of course, what does suck is that he's hauled into court, and made to defend himself. One can only hope the judge will not only find for the defendant, but also award court costs.

      Another thng that sucks is... these suits will not go away, even if spam is outlawed. The only way to make these suits go away is legislation against and vigorous prosecution of "anti-SLAPP" lawsuits, which are aimed at stifling the free speech of individuals via lawsuits. If you make it too risky for a company to launch an unfounded lawsuit against an individual or organization, the lawsuits will stop.

      #include "Obligatory IANAL"
      • In essence, it's basically just a libel case. Party X says party Y is bad, and no one should have anything to do with them. Party Y suffers because of this. Party Y wants to be compensated for their losses.

        Defamation is only one of the possible actions suggested by the pleadings. There are two other causes of action they have attempted to plead - a statutory one for restraint of trade, and a common law one for tortious interference with contractual relations.

  • Check out some of the books the T3 Group is selling...

    $ales $cript Book [t3direct.com.au]
    a collection of the most powerful and useful phrases (scripts) a sales professional can use to counter any objection and close the sale

    Web Marketing - beyond the basics [t3direct.com.au]
    covering everything from Search Engine Optimisation, Permission Marketing Techniques, Viral Marketing, Multi Domain Registration, Opt-In Mail Lists, Competition Sites and much more

    Yes, just what my business was looking for... forcing your customers to say yes, and such time honored promotional practices such as viral marketing! How did I manage to run a website without this vital knowledge?!?

    Well, at any rate, there's another domain for my blocklist...

    t3direct.com.au ERROR:"553 Delivery blocked; cannot accept mail from pro-spam domains."
    • From their website [t3direct.com.au]: The Company has established e-mail databases exceeding 2 million Australian and 30 million world addresses. Currently we send in excess of 1,000,000 e-mails per month to Opt In Permission e-mail subscribers.

      So these scum have over 30 million 'opt in' email addresses to spam. Yeah, right. Someone shoot the bastards. No, that's too humane. There's some mediaeval tortures that seem more appropriate.

      HH

  • SpamAssassin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by totallygeek (263191) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:38PM (#3612845) Homepage
    This is the beauty of Spam Assassin [spamassassin.org]. You do not blacklist or build elaborate access tables. The spammer never gets a notification that his mail violates any RFC or is triggered as spam. All that happens is you rate inbound mail by certain criteria and if it hits a scored threshhold it is placed in a container mailbox for admin review. No lawsuits can be filed...

  • by Liquor (189040) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @04:49PM (#3612923) Homepage
    Maybe there's more information somewhere else, but, from what I did NOT see in the articles:

    First off: Is there any proof whatsoever that being listed in SPEWS is in any way incorrect or libelous? Certainly it is not illegal, even in AU to add an IP block to that address as being friendly to either a known spammer or a known spamvertized site. After all, SPEWS bills itself as being opinion that nobody has to follow.

    Unless being added to SPEWS has some form of illegality, what basis is there for suing Mr McNichol for expressing an opinion?

    Secondly, if SPEWS is operated secretly, then how can anybody prove that this Joseph McNichol was responsible for them being blocked?

    Is there some provable connection between him and SPEWS somehow?

    It would certainly seem likely that sufficient people on the receiving end of the spam would have complained sooner or later such that SPEWS would put them onto the blacklist.

    And even so - don't SPEWS say in their FAQ that they don't block sites based on complaints? That they depend on the knowledge of the *unknown* people that set up the lists directly? That it requires repeated offenses before a company is considered a 'Known Spammer'?

    So where is the evidence - not apparent anywhere in anything I have seen of this matter - that there is any actual connection between Mr. McNichol and SPEWS?

    If either of these proofs is missing, then this should be dismissed by the first competent judge in any jurisdiction.
  • If they weren't already, their IP ranges will probably be in every other blacklist on earth in the next hour or two. They have put themselves out of business.

    The fact that the article on slashdot should insure this, and I suspect that a number of somebodys will be keeping an eye on this company to insure that their IPs are blocked no matter how they get changed.

    Why am I reminded of Bernie Shifman?

    • If they weren't already, their IP ranges will probably be in every other blacklist on earth in the next hour or two. They have put themselves out of business.

      They don't actually send spam from those IP addresses. They get numerous dial-up accounts and send spam through those. They don't even refer back to those IP addresses in the spam.

  • I'd love to read the complaint.


    The amounts seem to be bogus, as there is no need for any equiptment replacement. Not knowing where spews is located, I can't say the jurisdiction is wanting.


    But, as a defense, I would want a list of emails and addresses that were sent out. Then the list of emails and addresses that were rejected because of spew's actions. Then submit the list to a couple of class action attorneys in states with anti-spam laws and go after the spammers for sending spam.

    Then when the spammers use the defense of the email not being delivered as to get out of the penalties for sending spam, then spews can use the fact that they saved the spammers more money than the scum sued for as a partial defense, if they don't get the entire case thrown out and the spammer's attorney sanctioned for bring such a case.

  • So he was blacklisted, it doesn't prevent him from doing anything.

    It does however allow others to deny serving him, which they have the right to do.

    The people who caused the actual damage to him were the people who used the blacklist, not those that made it. There only act was to ignore him, AFAIK there is no precedent for damages due to ignoring people.
  • by markwelch (553433) <markwelch@markwelch.com> on Thursday May 30, 2002 @06:05PM (#3613553) Homepage Journal
    This certainly isn't new. I was privileged to be sued by the "Spam King" himself (Sanford Wallace) in mid-1999 [markwelch.com]. He blamed me when his internet connection was cut by Verio after I informed Verio that Wallace was sending spam through their network. (Verio had knowingly agreed to sell service to Wallace, on the condition that he not send any unsolicited commercial email, which is like hiring a vampire to work in a blood bank and telling him he'll be fired if he drinks any blood -- it's not a question of "if," just a question of "when.")

    I think Wallace may have deliberately sent me spam in order to provoke me -- he knew I'd complain since he was breaching his earlier promise to block my email addresses after earlier complaints. By provoking me to complain, he could claim a "victim" role, by falsely stating that I had "asked" to receive the emails and then unfairly complained and caused his business to lose its only internet connection (every other ISP and backbone provider had blacklisted him years earlier).

    Spanford Wallace filed his suit in Pennsylvania (despite lack of jurisdiction) because he knew I'd have to hire an attorney there and spend thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs to dismiss the suit. He knew the suit would be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, and he chose not to sue me in California because he knew that California has a SLAPP statute that would have permitted me to collect attorneys' fees and damages (Pennsylvania didn't have a SLAPP statute).

    The spammers' only goals in filing lawsuits are to gain "unfair advantage" -- adverse publicity for the opponent, and deliberate choice of an inconvenient and expensive forum.

    It worked for Wallace: I stopped making spam complaints for many months because I was so distracted by the lawsuit. And he also deterred others from reporting spam complaints, by loudly and publicly announcing that he (and other spammers) would not hesitate to deliberately abuse the court system in order to punish honest people who make valid complaints.

    Wallace's publicity campaign was transparent: he decided to file the lawsuit one day after I appeared on CNBC regarding another consumer advocacy issue; he wanted to "piggy-back" by suing a well-known consumer advocate. He posted a copy of the lawsuit on his web site and emailed dozens of reporters just minutes after the complaint was filed (of course, I learned of the suit only when the reporters called me, and since I couldn't respond to a suit I hadn't seen, Wallace's false and malicious claims were republished as if they were true -- with no follow-up when the suit was abandoned and dismissed several months later.

    Although Wallace's suit was filed in Pennsylvania despite the absence of jurisdiction, I was forced to spend $5,000 to hire a Philadelphia attorney to prepare and file a motion to dismiss (I chose an attorney who had previously obtained a judgment against Wallace). As soon as we filed the motion to dismiss, Wallace simply abandoned the lawsuit (he submitted papers to the court claiming that a "settlement had been reached," though there was no settlement.

    The only good news is that I haven't heard from him since then, but of course the bad news is that he drained $5,000 of my money and a lot of my time, and simultaneously scared off someone interested in buying a web site I owned (the offer to buy my business for $350,000 was withdrawn the day after the suit was filed, and five months later I sold the business to another buyer for $175,000).

    Wallace also successfully deterred many spam complaints by proving his continued willingness to abuse court processes for personal gain.)

    I assume that the spammer in the current case filed a suit in the hopes of driving up others' costs and extorting a settlement.

  • Here's the official SPEWS IP listing. I wonder how long it'll be before these IPs show up in permanent blacklists all over the Internet, never to emerge again.

    Way to go, spammers. Watch your connectivity go bye-bye.

    T3Group
    |--------------------
    1, 202.154.73.131, t3direct.com.au
    1, 202.154.79.66, mail.t3direct.com.au
    1, 202.154.79.0/25, t3direct.com.au
    1, 202.139.241.136, www.t3direct.com.au
    1, 202.139.241.128/25, t3direct.com.au
    1, 203.55.16.6, titan.t3direct.com.au
    1, 203.55.16.0/25, t3direct.com.au
    ---------------------|

  • May he rot in hell..

    -jcr
  • Or so says Wayne Mansfield [asshole] -- 'we have been in business because we dare challenge the right of people to "shut us down," becuase [sic] we use an effective lawful method of business promotion' (quoted in this page on fighting spammers in Oz [vtgts.com] run by McNichol).

    Funny, I didn't read a law anywhere that publicizing a know scumbag's IP addresses is unlawful! (It certainly is effective!)

    Let's say I spread the word that if you see elderly people dressed a certain way carrying sheafs of a magazine called The Light Tower, they're Jehovah's Witnesses, don't answer the door (like you didn't know that already.) Can the J.W.s sue me because they had to buy new clothes, and knocking on someone's door is "lawful and effective"?

    The spammers should be tarred, feathered, run out of town on a rail, then drawn, quartered, and thrown into the Iron Maiden. Their corpses should then be incinerated, ground up, and shot into the sun.

    And what pisses me off even more is that I'm a pacifist and believe that violence is never the solution to a problem. The fucking spammers make me think that perhaps my philosophy is not universally applicable.

    Fucking bastards!

  • A guy on the street just charged me 5 bucks when I didn't accept his flyer.

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