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1st Trial Under California Spam Law Slams Spammer 126

Posted by timothy
from the righteous-win dept.
www.sorehands.com writes "In the first case brought by a spam recipient to actually go to trial in California, the Superior Court of California held that people who receive false and deceptive spam emails are entitled to liquidated damages of $1,000 per email under California Business & Professions Code Section 17529.5. In the California Superior Court ruling (PDF), Judge Marie S. Weiner made many references to the fact that Defendants used anonymous domain name registration and used unregistered business names in her ruling. This is different from the Gordon case, where one only had to perform a simple whois lookup to identify the sender; here, Defendants used 'from' lines of 'Paid Survey' and 'Your Promotion' with anonymously registered domain names. Judge Weiner's decision makes it clear that the California law is not preempted by the I CAN-SPAM Act. This has been determined in a few prior cases, including my own. (See http://www.barbieslapp.com/spam for some of those cases.)"
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1st Trial Under California Spam Law Slams Spammer

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:44PM (#31530230)

    Uhm, you're supposed to post an web or e-mail address link so people can reach you in the summary.

    • For 1k per I can sure as hell afford a petabyte array.

      • Maybe I should move to California. I get TONS of spam. I could pay off all my debt and get my super-awesome computer. (:

        • by Fred_A (10934)

          Maybe I should move to California. I get TONS of spam. I could pay off all my debt and get my super-awesome computer. (:

          My thoughts exactly, I'm sure that with about $12000/month I could go by, even in California.

          OTOH, there will probably be a sharp increase in prices in that state with all the new Spam millionaires (oops, I left my email in a public forum again).

  • Nice (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is what should happen for all SPAMMERs. Once this happens to everyone, there would be thicker lines drawn between what is SPAM and whats not. Organizations that do SPAM to provide their advertisements for FREE, even the ones that have the UNSUBSCRIBE button should start getting this kind of penalties.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      THANK YOU for using ALL CAPS so much. It makes your message so much more easily UNDERSTANDABLE.
      • YES! Where he used caps implies emphasis in speech. People who complain about this don't know how to read. They can't read something and HEAR the speech emphasis in their mind. So they complain and look stupid.
        • My argument is that the emphasis is placed on the wrong words. It'd carry more force like this:

          This is what should happen for ALL spammers. Once this happens to everyone, there would be thicker lines drawn between what IS spam and what's not.

        • by digitig (1056110)

          YES! Where he used caps implies emphasis in speech. People who complain about this don't know how to read. They can't read something and HEAR the speech emphasis in their mind. So they complain and look stupid.

          People who write like that don't know how to format stuff here, so they look stupid.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        THANK YOU for using ALL CAPS so much. It makes your message so much more easily UNDERSTANDABLE.

        And it SHOWS that you already HAVE an enormous PENIS that DRIVES women wild.

  • Well, it seems like California got one right for once. Now, how many more places need similar laws to solve this worldwide problem?

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:50PM (#31530304)
    I know the $1,000 per e-mail is supposed to be a deterrent, but no one is ever going to see any real money from this guy. Who keeps the 'spam'? How can they prove they received it once it's gone?

    This guy is going to declare bankruptcy as soon as his fine is handed down and the only one who's going to get any of his cash is his lawyer.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In many states, fines that are a result of court judgements against you cannot be discharged in bankruptcy court. Otherwise, you could just rack up ungodly amounts of judgements against you, never pay them, go to bankruptcy court, wash, rinse, repeat as often as desired.

      • by beelsebob (529313)

        That is kinda the idea of bankruptcy – once they've taken everything from you, you should be allowed a fresh start.

        • Federal student loans and, at least in my state (afaik), court judgments are exempt from bankruptcy declarations.

          At least for judgments against you, that's actually good. You shouldn't get a fresh start if you have a court-ordered judgment against you.

        • by Sarten-X (1102295)
          Who is 'they'? Is it the judicial system, which (ideally) only fines people who have done something wrong? Is it the creditors, who are only loaning you money, and just want it back? Going into bankruptcy means that not only have you exhausted your own supply of money, but generally you've exhausted what other people are willing to lend you. You should not be allowed to just forget all your old debts, any more than a bank should be allowed to forget that you made deposits.
        • by Skapare (16644) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:53PM (#31530902) Homepage

          Indebtedness that is the result of certain criminal acts is not usually allowed to be discharged in bankruptcy. If you destroy someone else's property, then declare bankruptcy after being convicted of the crime, you will still owe THAT debt. The risk of not being paid back is supposed to be burdened only by those specifically choosing to do business with the party that might declare bankruptcy. However, this matter still has to be raised in the bankruptcy court. If you are owed money for a criminal act, and the debtor files bankruptcy, and you just sit and do nothing, it could be discharged, and it might not be possible to re-open the bankruptcy (if you knew about it).

          Whether spamming falls under this is the big question. I believe there is no case law to test it.

          For more information, see "Chapter 7 - Liquidation Under the Bankruptcy Code [uscourts.gov]". The relevant paragraphs are near the end, just above "NOTES".

        • If you could do that it would cripple civil lawsuits. Then we'd have to make even more things criminal to deter people so they could be punished (by throwing them in jail, which you can't do with a civil lawsuit).

    • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:14PM (#31530514)
      I'll save someone some time- actually, a lot of people a lot of time:

      ... (x) legislative ...

      ...

      (x) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money

      ...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PRMan (959735)
        He had to find the guy in order to sue them. That part is done.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Onw - 1 - person being arrested for murder does not mean murder is "solved" for all time. The only real metric is a persistent lowering not caused by underreporting. That is far more complicated than most companies think.

    • by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:32PM (#31530714)

      I didn't RTFPDF yet, but here are my preliminary thoughts. I understand the rationale that the fine of $1000 per email is that it is punitive, but why $1000? $1000 per email seems like an awfully exaggerated fine. Didn't we agree that fines or other cash penalties should be at least roughly tied to the amount of harm done? For example, sharing a $1 song should not amount to thousands upon thousands of dollars in fines. Likewise, a single spam email that costs the victim almost nothing but time, annoyance, and/or fractions of a cent in bandwidth costs probably shouldn't warrant a $1000 fine.

      Now if a scam email actually defrauded someone of money (the victim could either be the person spammed or an ad agency), the punishment should be relative to the amount defrauded, plus some significant punitive penalty.

      If we think that outrageous fines are unjust and unwarranted, shouldn't we apply this rule across the board? Figure out the actual damages and go from there instead of just slapping a $1000 price tag on each email. Doesn't that make more sense?

      • by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:48PM (#31530856)

        No, we shouldn't, because we really dislike spam - thus we feel that we can adjust our punitive damages required to fit our dislike. On the other hand, we like illegal file sharing, therefore we feel that punitive damages there should be zero.

        At least, I'm fairly certain that's how a lot of people's "logic" goes. :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by twidarkling (1537077)

          Correct me if I'm wrong, but in filesharing cases, they're usually statutory damages, not punitive, no? In this case, I'd think it's punitive damages, thus allowing the discrepancy in what people are accepting.

          Alternatively, if I'm not correct about the statutory damages, in both cases, people are trying to destroy a broken business model. The RIAA's by disallowing massive fines being used as a sledgehammer against people so they can continue doing business the way they want, rather than how the market will

          • by mr_matticus (928346) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @08:51PM (#31531866)

            Correct me if I'm wrong, but in filesharing cases, they're usually statutory damages, not punitive, no?

            Well, correction.

            Both copyright damages and these spam damages are statutory damages (i.e. specified by statute, as opposed to discretionary), and both are intended to have punitive value (i.e. you will only enforce the claim against a tiny minority of offenders and therefore it's the risk and cost of being caught that has deterrent value). Neither are punitive damages (i.e. additional damages beyond what is restitutionary or compensatory owing to specific misconduct by the defendant).

            The GP's point is spot on for many people here (though there are also many who have no problem with the penalties and enforcement structure, and instead have issues [some legitimate; many not] with the substantive laws that give way to the penalties in the first place).

        • by iphinome (810750)
          File sharing doesn't tend to involve fraud but instead non commercial infringement, for most people profit motive matters.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cortesoft (1150075)

          I don't know if increasing punitive damages to fit our dislike is illogical, or even necessarily a bad idea. Punitive damages DO in some sense measure the strength of the public's dislike for an action; the purpose of establishing punitive damages is to reduce the occurrences of a behavior that society deems undesirable. It makes sense that we would want to more strongly punish actions that we dislike more than actions that we actually like. There is no 'objective', 'purely logical' reason to assign any

          • Now to counter my own argument (because I like to do that sort of thing):

            You are totally stacking the deck by choosing this type of argument, and abusing the particulars of the crime of copyright infringement.

            By choosing to compare a world where the download takes place and a world where the downloader was never born, you state that, to the copyright holder, the world is exactly the same. However, it isn't; there exists one less potential customer in the world. Now, you might say that this one customer is

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by tehcyder (746570)

            Spam, on the other hand, causes people anguish

            And I used to think my 5 year old daughter was a drama queen.

      • by PRMan (959735) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:59PM (#31530954)

        Littering is $1000 in California, too. What's the harm to anyone if someone throws a piece of (biodegradable) paper out their window?

        The harm is not the 1 piece of paper, it's the 1,000,000 that result if there is no fine. The fine has to be punitive enough to stop the 1,000,000.

        Think of this as littering in someone else's inbox.

        • "littering in someone else's inbox"
          I like that, it made me think of "going in someone's litter box", which is what spam is, someone is pissing in your inbox.
        • Not sure if Cali is like my state, but if you look at the sign, it says a "MAX FINE" before the $1000. Someone throwing out a banana peel likely won't get fined at all. A bag of fast food trash: $50. A full garbage bag due to laziness: $500. Dumping 100 pounds of trash: $1000. These fines are reasonable considering the damage done, and are in now way proportional to one spam or one song.

          I feel sorry for you if your state really does have black-and-white fines.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @07:21PM (#31531164)

        I run the network of a small business. Less than 15 people. Program too. Let me tell you *what* spam costs.

            Three years ago, it became a problem that wasn't getting handled by the clients. The CEO was annoyed at having to delete 20 messages a day. He got to deleting things so fast he accidentally deleted a very important message in his hurry. More than once. Cost to the business: ~$50,000 in potential sales.
            We bought a spam filtering firewall to handle it. Yes, there's lots of open source solutions--but we had no spare hardware for virtualization, our mailserver was an undocumented mess--and I needed an "on the wire just work" solution. Cost: three hours of research, $500 purchase, $200 a year for a 24x7 warranty.
            In 2008 we had our first joe-job--we were running a business class DSL line in the office, 2 Megs, async. The backscatter *took us offline* for over two days. I had BATV installed within four hours, but almost nobody uses it. Oddly enough, postmaster didn't get any complaints that I found. We had to move our mailserver into a co-lo and purchase the bandwidth, as our ISP couldn't filter that out on the fly. And don't start on the poor little firewall appliance nearly bursting into flames as its load went up to 5-6 on a single CPU trying to scan the content.

        Because of SPAM, I can't run an open relay, and my users have to connect either via VPN to a trusted open LAN submission service, or I have to install passwords in the outbound SMTP system. Both of these take configuration changes. Because of SPAM, users on aircards can't follow their ISPs email instructions--I've got domainkeys--they need to send mail from *my* mailsystems.

        So yeah, SPAM costs our company alone a minimum of $200 a year just in subscription fees and maintenance. In practice, it's cost a lot more, and has taken us offline. What do you think it costs a company the size of IBM, or the state of California?

        I'm just grateful I'm not in an industry where I'm required by law to archive all these things. And you are aware storage is *expensive* right? Yeah, I can get a cheap ass drive at home for $100 for 1 TB. But at work--high availability systems, high availability storage, tape archiving, backups, redundancy. Now--not everything needs this, but even the cheap cable attached SAS drives aren't coming in for less than $200, and those don't have much capacity and are like 7200 RPM. To actually benefit from those, I need at least direct attached storage, or a NAS device-- $4000 - $20,000+. Of course, I *could* build it myself and end up with no warranty or support contract...

        Now, to capitalize on this and back it up, I'll need either a tape backup system, shipping, or a high speed fiber link to somewhere.

        Lest you say all of this isn't caused by one spam--it's well established in the US that the "weak skull defense" is *not* valid. If it's the last spam that caused my firewall to crash, or forced me to invest in the firewall--they are liable for it.

        Anybody who runs a megacorp network want to tell mr speedy exactly what spam actually costs their company? Don't forget the extra AV licenses you probably had to purchase for the distributed scanners...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Ziest (143204)

          I used to work for Cisco in San Jose. I was part of the group that ran the Unix email systems for the entire company. Cisco is a company of 60,000 plus people around the world. All the email for Cisco goes through Sun Jose. In my group we had 9 system admins and 1 manager who were dedicated to handling spam. When I was there (2004 - 2005) we had a dozen top-of-the-line IronPort anti-spam servers. We were adding an additional one every couple of quarters. I don't really know but an educated guess would be t

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by tehcyder (746570)

            Since spammers are, in fact stealing bandwidth, I have often thought that they should be charged, at the very least, with theft of service or grand theift.

            Substitute "illegal filesharers" for "spammers" in that sentence and watch the howls of outrage from the slashdotters.

        • by Tim C (15259)

          In 2008 we had our first joe-job--we were running a business class DSL line in the office, 2 Megs, async. The backscatter *took us offline* for over two days.

          I own a domain for private use, which is hosted by a friend. It's set up so that all mail to any address at that domain is delivered to me.

          I was the victim of a joe-job a few years ago; at the height of the problem, I was getting 2000-3000 mails *per day* from the backscatter and spam to the faked from addresses. It didn't knock anything offline, but i

          • by bipbop (1144919)
            Last year I started getting well over 10,000 per day. Panix dealt with it fine, though they did make me fix my configuration invoking Spamassassin twice per message (which was accidental--whoops!). But since that happened, I've changed to discarding all messages marked as spam, rather than skimming the subject lines each day of only 200-300 messages or so for false positives. Sigh.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by metrometro (1092237)

        There's a degree of pragmatism here. The ratio [spam sent] to [court cases won] will be lower than 1000:1, making the per-email judgement, in most cases considerably lower than $1 a message. Of course, a class action could destroy somebody, but then, that's kind of the idea. Deterrent.

      • by vandrooo (1770716)
        It's an attempted scam of 1000's of dollars. If you try to murder someone, but fail, you still get screwed.
      • I did a little searching for relevant non e-mail equivalents.

        Sending Junk snail-mail doesn't seem to be against the law in most jurisdictions.

        The closest equivalent I could find is laws against sending junk faxes, which can result in damages of several thousand dollars per page in most jurisdictions.

        So yes, $1000 per e-mail is not without precedent.

        --------------

        With the file-sharing thing, suppose you're in trouble for 10 songs. You could have stolen a CD, get caught, charged with Petty theft, and let off

        • by Khyber (864651)

          E-mail and Faxes are both covered under 'electronic communications' for unwarranted transmissions laws.

      • ...why $1000?

        Maybe they're trying to assign a cost according to the RIAA per-song tariffs.

      • by smhsmh (1139709)

        "Damages" in a civil complaint, despite legal theorems, has two components. The obvious one is the the costs suffered by the plaintiff. The other (less often explicitly acknowledged) is the punishment to discourage future repetitions.

        Suppose some extremely-clever human-engineered phish or spam yields on average more than the fraction of a cent cost that span penalties might obtain. There would be no disincentive for spamming

        Of course, spamming today has essentially no cost to the perpetrators. When the

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by shadowfaxcrx (1736978)

        First off, they're going easy on the guy. The 1995 TCPA allows for up to $1500 damages per offense, payable to the plaintiff.

        Second, the amount of "hurt" of the penalty should be standardized. A megacorporation that gets fined a grand for some act of wrongdoing isn't going to care, and is therefore likely to continue committing the offense, writing the penalty off as a business expense, because it's likely that the business is making far more money off of breaking the law than it is losing in penalties. Tha

      • Part of the rational here is that a single email can do MORE than $1,000 in harm. The most often used example is of a minor getting hardcore porn. Other examples include opening up pornographic email at work (and risking loosing your job because of it).

        I have a story on the last one. In the late nineties my Sister worked at a domestic violence support organization. They helped battered and abused women and there children get out of those situations. Part of her job was to be a open contact for anyone s

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Dan IS the lawyer. He runs a law firm.
    • by GooberToo (74388)

      This guy is going to declare bankruptcy

      A judge still has to grant bankruptcy status. Due to the nature of his problems, its likely a judge will not give him a pass. Abuse of the law to side step the other hand of the law isn't a typical reason allowed for bankruptcy.

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        Abuse of the law to side step the other hand of the law isn't a typical reason allowed for bankruptcy.

        Tell that to SCO.

        • by GooberToo (74388)

          SCO is strictly a civil case. The current spam laws are criminal prosecutions with the end result being fines. Filing bankruptcy to escape criminal prosecution isn't likely to be smiled on by the state.

          Run up a couple million in traffic ticket fines and then attempt to file bankruptcy - see how far that'll get you.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      He's a spammer, he's rich.

      And concealing assets, even ill-gotten gains, from the court in a bankruptcy proceeding is bankruptcy fraud, which is a federal offense you can go to prison for, not just get the crap fined out of your balance sheet.

      • Yeah, one lawsuit for $7,000 plus another $50,000 in attorney fees will not break them. What about 100 more of their spam victims filing the same type of lawsuit?

        I have a spammer, Dev8 Entertainment, AXS Charge, Datatima Ideas Limited, Liquid Minds, East group, Techie Group, Emanuel Gurtler, and David Szpak (all alter-egos) that I am litigating my third lawsuit against. They decided to default the last two because those judgments totaled only $200k. Since I had a $2M judgment,they decided to fight it.

        Of

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:01PM (#31530408) Homepage

    "Slamming spam lands spammer in slammer"

  • 2010 a bit late? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Its 2010, well over a decade after spam became a prominent problem. Why is this the first successfull prosecution of a spammer? Bit late wouldnt you say? I thought the can-spam act has been around for years. Why arent these guys being taken down sooner? Guess better late than never.

  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:29PM (#31530684)

    www.barbieslapp.com was not at all what I was hoping it would be about.

  • Overboard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spykk (823586) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:30PM (#31530690)
    I hate spam as much as the next guy, but $1,000 per e-mail is just as rediculous as the rewards we are seeing for pirating music. Can't we work to solve this problem without making up huge numbers that no one will ever be able to pay anyway?
    • Re:Overboard (Score:5, Insightful)

      by frosty_tsm (933163) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:50PM (#31530882)
      $1,000 per e-mail is similar to $10,000 per call to someone on the do-not-call registry. This is about taking away the financial benefit of these obnoxious business activities. Pirating music is not a business activity.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by PRMan (959735)

      Is $1000 for littering "rediculous"? That's the same amount in California.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pgmrdlm (1642279)

      Have ISP's take offline every machine that has been proven to issue spam until the owner cleans it to the ISP's pre defined and posted rules are met.

      Any ISP that is found to NOT enforce these rules is fined 1,000 for every spam that is found to originate from their network.

      Once these conditions are met and enforced heavily, ISP’s will go out of their way to assist identifying the origin of the infections that are causing the spam. We then hand down sentences requiring that every individual prosecuted

      • by MrMista_B (891430)

        No, what that would mean is that every single ISP that's smaller than something the size of Google would go out of business.

        Those rules would accomplish a couple of things.

        1). Make the risk of operating an ISP so high that only the very largest companies would risk it.
        2). Make the cost of internet access so expensive, due to risk to the ISP, that only the wealthiest individuals and corporations could afford it.
        3). Make it easy to shut down massive swaths of the internet by merely forging email headers.

        Good

      • by malkavian (9512)

        I'm there with #2, educating people to keep their computers as clean as possible, but the others? I'd never let a spammer near my computers.. That's asking for trouble..
        And fining an ISP because an end user doesn't maintain their PC? To bring out the much hated "car analogy", it's like fining the maintainers of a road because a driver using that road has a crash due to not noticing and fixing a bit of damage caused by vandals.
        Great, by all means encourage ISPs to have 'health checks' on machines (I know

    • by Inda (580031)

      In the UK, someone managed to get £270 + £30 costs from a spammer through the small claims court. Costs go up inline with the claim; £270 kept the costs under £30. This is from 2005; I believe the figure is £450 + £50 these days.

      http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/it-strategy/2005/12/28/court-victory-in-the-fight-against-spam-39244402/ [zdnet.co.uk]

      That's not far off your $1,000.

      I think it a good figure. It's high enough to shock someone without making them bankrupt.

      I love throwing ou

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:44PM (#31530820)

    Can I get a "sue" button on my gmail spam folder? I'd love to get $1000 for each of the of spam emails I get everyday.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Parallax48 (990689)

      It would be great to group all emails marked as spam by gmail into one folder, group it by spammer (or just main contents of message) and make those emails available to lawyers / forensics experts hoping to do some investigative research and bring a class action lawsuit.

      If they simply picked the most "popular" spam message every week and got an award of $1000 per email when they located the spammer (keeping say 10%) it would be a nice profitable business.

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        The problem is that gmail is the #1 source of spam that I'm seeing, as well as the #1 source of bogus spam registration attempts.

        Do you REALLY want to solve the spam problem in 3 easy steps? It's simple.

        1. End "freemail" accounts. All email accounts have to be verifiable and linked to an end user account.
        2. End "private domain name registration." All domains have to have verified contact info.
        3. Lifetime ban on purchase, possession, or use of all electronic devices (enforced by RFID chipping the person) fo
        • by bhiestand (157373)

          The problem is that gmail is the #1 source of spam that I'm seeing, as well as the #1 source of bogus spam registration attempts.

          gmail as in "signed by gmail" actually originating from gmail servers gmail?

          • by tomhudson (43916)
            Most of the spam, and around 90% of the bogus spam registrations, are gmail accounts. Why do you think gmail is able to filter spam? It's because they're the #1 source world-wide.
    • by hAckz0r (989977)
      Why not configure Gmail to automatically forward your spam to a remote host daemon process used to aggregate your spam emails by blue-pill-vendor.com http site and automatically send those compilations as a bill to each sales@bluepill.com, Oh, and be sure to CC: your chosen MyLawyer@LeagalProfession.com and Guido@collections-now.com. No buttons required! Just sit back and collect the payments.

      If the money flow starts slacking off during these economic hard times, just create a few more disposable email a

  • For every spam I got, I could buy a nice house in the mountains. If I had a grand for each of them, I could retire the national debt!

    -jcr

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Tracking spammers down so you can sue them is not cheap. Nor is showing up in court. It's not that profitable.
      • by jcr (53032)

        Regrettably true. Even if you could collect the judgements, it would be difficult to schedule the cases often enough to clear a grand a day.

        -jcr

      • by Khyber (864651)

        It's cheap if you actually have a clue about what you're doing.

        If you don't have a clue - better stick with the phone and voice mail, and shut your computer down.

  • ... won't miss this guy for more than the Planck time [wikipedia.org].

    • won't miss this guy

      meaning the defendant(s) of course. Seriously, I hardly think we're all going to get $1K from these people for each spam e-mail we have received. It just means they will have a financial rock on top of them that they can never lift.

  • You have to admire Daniel Balsam for his tenacity. It sure sent a message to would-be spammers that it is neither lucrative nor desireable to engage in such practices.
  • I'd be willing to split the take with anyone who wants to chase down and cash in on these guys. Hell, even at $500/per, I can retire in just a few weeks...
  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @08:26PM (#31531682)

    The article says its damages, presumably payable to the person spammed by the spamming company. Given that the CA law also says its a misdemeanor, that would imply that individuals can be fined or jailed. Cali might be able to start prosecuting these guys and generating some revenue. Or maybe they'll stick with the easier to prove and more lucrative dwi cases.

    From 17529.5. http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/BPC/1/d7/3/1/1.8/s17529.5 [findlaw.com]
    (a)It is unlawful for any person or entity to advertise in a commercial e-mail advertisement either sent from California or sent to a California electronic mail address under any of the following circumstances:

    (1)The e-mail advertisement contains or is accompanied by a third-party's domain name without the permission of the third party.

    (2)The e-mail advertisement contains or is accompanied by falsified, misrepresented, or forged header information. This paragraph does not apply to truthful information used by a third party who has been lawfully authorized by the advertiser to use that information.

    (3)The e-mail advertisement has a subject line that a person knows would be likely to mislead a recipient, acting reasonably under the circumstances, about a material fact regarding the contents or subject matter of the message.

    (b)(1)(A)In addition to any other remedies provided by any other provision of law, the following may bring an action against a person or entity that violates any provision of this section:

    (i)The Attorney General.

    (ii)An electronic mail service provider.

    (iii)A recipient of an unsolicited commercial e-mail advertisement, as defined in Section 17529.1.

    (B)A person or entity bringing an action pursuant to subparagraph (A) may recover either or both of the following:

    (i)Actual damages.

    (ii)Liquidated damages of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each unsolicited commercial e-mail advertisement transmitted in violation of this section, up to one million dollars ($1,000,000) per incident.

    (C)The recipient, an electronic mail service provider, or the Attorney General, if the prevailing plaintiff, may also recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

    (D)However, there shall not be a cause of action under this section against an electronic mail service provider that is only involved in the routine transmission of the e-mail advertisement over its computer network.

    (2)If the court finds that the defendant established and implemented, with due care, practices and procedures reasonably designed to effectively prevent unsolicited commercial e-mail advertisements that are in violation of this section, the court shall reduce the liquidated damages recoverable under paragraph (1) to a maximum of one hundred dollars ($100) for each unsolicited commercial e-mail advertisement, or a maximum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per incident.

    (3)(A)A person who has brought an action against a party under this section shall not bring an action against that party under Section 17529.8 or 17538.45 for the same commercial e-mail advertisement, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 17529.1.

    (B)A person who has brought an action against a party under Section 17529.8 or 17538.45 shall not bring an action against that party under this section for the same commercial e-mail advertisement, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 17529.1.

    (c)A violation of this section is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months, or both that fine and imprisonment.

  • just as stupid as the $25,000 per song rulings. maybe this is indicative of how much their judges make, that $1000 doesn't seem like much to them?
    • by centuren (106470)

      just as stupid as the $25,000 per song rulings. maybe this is indicative of how much their judges make, that $1000 doesn't seem like much to them?

      As someone's pointed out already, sharing songs via peer-to-peer networks is not a business activity -- the perpetrator isn't profiting from the action. Spamming is a business model, and, in California, an illegal one. Damages of $1000 per spam email are designed to disrupt the profit motive by increasing the monetary risk one undertakes when engaging in this illegal business. It's not the same as sharing songs, as the defendants weren't earning income from sharing. Remember, it's the distribution they get

  • File this one with all the others who think they will get money out for punitive damages from spammers. We all know in the end it won't work, the plaintiff won't see any money; hence don't hold your breath for your "share" either.

    Of course, IANAL, however we see that the PDF states the lawsuit (note it was not a criminal trial) was against a company. If the company doesn't have any responsible staffers in the US, then this suit isn't worth the paper the ruling was printed on. Furthermore if the company
    • The plaintiff(s) would have been wise to just save their time and not bother bringing a lawyer into the matter, as in the end they will likely end up paying a lot more money to that lawyer than they will ever see form the company they just sued.

      The important part is that a precedent has been set, so this guy's hiring a lawyer may not benefit him but will undoubtedly benefit many others. Sometimes you have to just go with the greater good, knowing that it will all work out in the end. Someone has to stand up and light the first match, so to speak, to get the fire going.

      • light the first match, so to speak, to get the fire going.

        Oh, please, please tell me this means the next step involves burning all spammers alive? Pretty please can we can we? I would support that plan because SPAMMERS ARE WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.

        • please tell me this means the next step involves burning all spammers alive

          Russia (and other countries) have already murdered spammers. It didn't make any difference. Just because it makes you feel better doesn't mean it has a positive effect on the spamming problem.

          • by swordgeek (112599)

            Meh!

            A few spammers with Russian Mafia connections have been found dead, apparently as a result of crossing the mafia. This isn't the same as collecting spammers and carrying out a consistent, focused, public slaughter.

            The risk has to outweigh the reward. If every commercial spammer on planet earth showed up dead one day, it would scare a lot of people. If it happened every six months or so, eventually nobody would get into spamming.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              This isn't the same as collecting spammers and carrying out a consistent, focused, public slaughter.

              Allow me to state once again that murder, no matter how much it might make you feel good, will never solve the problem.

              If every commercial spammer on planet earth showed up dead one day,

              You'd be just as well off hoping for the flying spaghetti monster to come and enlighten all the spammers to stop spamming this afternoon for good. Those two situations are roughly of equal probability.

              And on top of that, there would be no way to ever verify that "every commercial spammer" showed up dead. The whereabouts of many of the top spammers is unknown, and many others are in co

              • by swordgeek (112599)

                I never said it was practical, feasible, or even possible. Nor did I suggest (or at least I didn't _intend_ to) that I'm in favour of murdering, even spammers.

                But my point is that in a magical fairy-world, where I had a button on my desk that would publicly kill all spammers legally and without moral repercussions for me (hah!), then after a few regular applications, people would seriously start to avoid spamming. It's not that you've increased the risk of being found, it's that by spamming, you have just G

                • I never said it was practical, feasible, or even possible. Nor did I suggest (or at least I didn't _intend_ to) that I'm in favour of murdering, even spammers.

                  But my point is that in a magical fairy-world, where I had a button on my desk that would publicly kill all spammers legally and without moral repercussions for me (hah!), then after a few regular applications, people would seriously start to avoid spamming. It's not that you've increased the risk of being found, it's that by spamming, you have just GUARANTEED your own death in the very near future. There's no profit in dying (although there's lots of profit in death.)

                  You can apply all the moral relativism you want, but in the end you are still endorsing murder. Killing another human being is murder; you can justify it however you want but if you've killed someone, you committed murder.

                  The only achilles tendon that spam has is its lack of willing consumers.

                  You're actually not far from identifying the real problem here... Well, OK you are a ways off but at least at this point you've stopped pushing for murder as a "solution".

                  I'm curious how you think spam can be stopped, though.

                  Spam can be stopped by removing it from that which keeps it going. Spam isn't sent to piss you off. Spam is sent

    • by Animats (122034) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @10:07PM (#31532358) Homepage

      File this one with all the others who think they will get money out for punitive damages from spammers. We all know in the end it won't work, the plaintiff won't see any money; hence don't hold your breath for your "share" either.

      No, he's going to collect on this one. The other side showed up in court, represented by counsel, and lost. The spammer has business premises within Redwood City, CA, where the court is located.

      • I have managed to collect from overseas spammers. You could always forgive some of the amount, file a 1099 on the spammer and let the IRS go after them for tax fraud.

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