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The Courts Spam IT

Court Renders $3 Judgment Against Spamhaus 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the that-is-not-a-typo dept.
www.sorehands.com writes "Back in 2006, e360Insight and David Linhardt obtained an $11.7M judgment against Spamhaus, an international anti-spam organization. The judgment was subsequently appealed and reduced to $27,002. That judgment was appealed yet again, and the appeals court has now vacated the earlier number and entered a judgment against Spamhaus in the amount of $3. (Yes, three dollars.) As you may recall, e360's oral arguments for the latest appeal were not well received by the court." The ruling itself is a fairly entertaining diatribe about how e360 shot itself in the foot repeatedly and with enthusiasm throughout the case, and contains gems like this: "By failing to comply with its basic discovery obligations, a party can snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory."
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Court Renders $3 Judgment Against Spamhaus

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  • These spammers are the people the ISPs should be going after for eating up bandwidth. How many people actually legitimately "opt-in" for spam? Probably pretty close to 0.
    • by ge7 (2194648)
      Quite many. GroupOn and their multiple daily emails about new offers is perfect example of this. Spammers have just wisen up from the 90's (or, adjusted to laws, as spamming wasn't illegal back then)
      • by 91degrees (207121)
        True that it's not really all that different. Although I think the main objection to spam isn't the cost of time and bandwidth, but more of a psychological feeling of powerlessness that there's nothing you can do to stop it. It's essentially a form of harassment.

        Established companies with a reputation to maintain, I'd imagine, are actually quite happy to remove you from the mailing list on request.
        • by amiga3D (567632)

          Essentially hell, it is harassment. The non-stop assault of these assholes as they swarm my mail box makes me see red. They should be required by law to provide a valid return email account so I can e-mail them back and tell them how little I appreciate them sending me their shit.

          • Re:See... (Score:4, Informative)

            by Pharmboy (216950) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @01:51PM (#37297442) Journal

            They should be required by law to provide a valid return email account so I can e-mail them back and tell them how little I appreciate them sending me their shit.

            They are. [wikipedia.org] The law just isn't enforced.

            • by shentino (1139071)

              We also tried that with Blue Security.

              The blatantly retaliatory DDoS attack should have raised red flags and gotten the feds involved in at least realizing the deeply criminal nature that spam really is. If it was a mere nuisance of the variety CANSPAM was designed to deal with, Blue Frog would not have been attacked as fiercly and viciously as it was.

              Spamming is more than just harassment. It is extortion, RICO, complicity in theft of services, and all that nasty stuff. It's a lot more than just pissing

          • Re:See... (Score:5, Funny)

            by Capt. Skinny (969540) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @03:29PM (#37298018)
            Spam boss: Hey Johnson, how are you coming on those replies to this morning's penis enlargement campaign?
            Johnson: Making progress boss. Only 200,000 more replies left to read.
            Spam boss: Great work Johnson.
            Johnson: Hey boss?
            Spam boss: Yeah Johnson?
            Johnson: I think you should take a look at this reply from amiga3D...
            Spam boss: Hmm... [reads email from Johnson's computer screen to self]
            Spam boss: Well, sheeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiit, Jonhson, this guy is really unhappy with us. Son of a gun.
            Johnson: What should I do, boss?
            Spam boss: Take him off all our lists IMMEDIATELY! Have operations cancel the campaign that's going out right now and the two in the queue until we can be sure he's on on those lists. Forward his email to customer service and have them reply with an apology, and offer him a coupon for 25% off of a spam campaign. We'd better nip this in the bud before this guy makes makes his complaints public -- our reputation depends on on it!
            Johnson: Of course, boss! Right away!
      • You know, when I signed up for Amazon.com many many many years ago, Im fairly certain I told them NOT to spam me. But in the last 3 weeks, since Amazon now does Amazon Local (their groupon equivalent), they feel like its necessary to send me daily deals.

        All that is irrelevant though; noone argues that by doing business with amazon I have given consent to them emailing me. The problem is when people send UNSOLICITED email, from companies I have no dealing with; THAT is what is referred to as spam.

        • by tompaulco (629533)
          Whenever I sign up for something online, I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS click the checkbox that says I don't want them spamming me. In addition, I sign up with a new address at my own domain that I will recognize if I ever get mail on it. For example, for Amazon, I would sign up as amazon@mydomainname.com. If I ever get mail on that address, especially if it is not from amazon, I then know that i need to cancel my account, autotrash that email account and tell everyone I can think of to never do business with them
      • Groupon isn't opt-in, it's opt-out. It's hard to even see the deals, let alone purchase them, without entering your e-mail address. There's no option at registration to disable e-mails. Instead, you have to wait until you get one and click the opt-out link.

        On top of that, there's no way to opt-out of them giving your e-mail address to the retailer in question, who is then free to sell it to whomever they wish. (I stopped using groupon when they implemented that particular 'feature').
        • by julesh (229690)

          Interesting. They have a UK operation that works as a UK company. I'm pretty sure EU data protection law requires all such signup forms to have an opt-out checkbox on the initial form, which they are presumably in violation of. Anyone want to report them?

    • Re:See... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Saturday September 03, 2011 @11:19AM (#37296606) Homepage

      How many people actually legitimately "opt-in" for spam? Probably pretty close to 0.

      Quite a few, actually.

      Like ge7 said ... history has proven that people *will* opt into spam if you give them something in return. Give them a free ringtone, a mp3, some porn. Or a coupon for free food, and they'll agree to almost anything. It's not like anybody actually reads what they're agreeing to.

      Of course, the flip side is that many of these people will scream bloody murder when these companies start spamming them "for no reason".

      And many people do opt-in to spam -- spam that's highly targeted. As ge7 said ... GroupOn deals in your area? Often quite valuable, but once you stop caring -- it's spam.

      • Re:See... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Machtyn (759119) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @01:21PM (#37297216) Homepage Journal
        Once you stop caring, it's fairly trivial to opt-out again... at least for legitimate services. Groupon would most certainly comply with an opt-out request.
      • Wrong! None. (Score:5, Informative)

        by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @01:26PM (#37297266) Homepage

        Spam is UNSOLICITED!

        If people signed up for it, then it is not spam.

        • by Kenja (541830)
          Depends on if they KNEW they signed up for it.
        • by dougmc (70836)

          Spam is UNSOLICITED!

          If people signed up for it, then it is not spam.

          That is (part of) one possible definition of it.

          If I look up the relevant definition at dictionary.com --

          Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients

          Yes, if you requested it, it's not really irrelevant, but perhaps you didn't realize exactly what you were getting? Or perhaps what you wanted changed over time? (And I'm not even talking about the possibilities of people being tricked into signing up for these emails ...)

          Ultimately, to many users, "spam" is email they don't want, whatever the story behind it reaching them is. You might be amazed at h

          • by tompaulco (629533)
            You might be amazed at how many people have intentionally subscribed to a mailing list -- then reported it as spam over the years, much to the dismay of people running legitimate mailing lists.
            Been there. Had that happen. Was running a mailing list with a double opt in. Every e-mail ever sent had instructions on how to remove. At least a dozen people after a year or so would come up with questions like 'Why am I getting this?" "Take me off this list!" "I'm reporting you as a spammer" etc. Just about every
        • You know that, I know that and most of the people reading Slashdot know that. However, to most people, spam is any advertising emails they don't want to get. Even if they checked a box saying, "Yes, I want to receive your advertisements by email." and even if they confirmed this by email (double opt-in) it becomes spam in their eyes the moment they decide they're not interested any more. That doesn't make them right and you wrong, of course, but a large percentage of the "spam" that most people get is s
          • by jimicus (737525)

            I'd go one step further - for many it's any email they don't want to get. I've seen plenty of people complaining of "spam" from mailing lists that are utterly uncommercial in nature.

        • Spam is UNSOLICITED!

          If people signed up for it, then it is not spam.

          Spam doesn't have to be unsolicited. Consider the following conversation:

          Man: Morning!
          Waitress: Morning!
          Man: Well, what've you got?
          Waitress: Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam;
          Vikings: Spam spam spam spam...
          Waitress: ...spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam...
          Vikings: Spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!
          Waitress: ...or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.

          The Man made a request for information ("signed up"), yet was undoubtedly spammed. And this by Vikings.

          Consider further:

          Imagine you receive 5 junk e-mails per day from a site you've never been to. You make a remark to your friend about receiving spam messages. He suggests that you visit the website that is sending you the spam so you can officially sign up for their mailing list. That way, he suggests, it will no longer be spam.

          This is

    • By definition email is no-longer spam if the receiver opted-in to receive it. Spam is *unsolicited* bulk email. This distinction is important because without it pretty much every piece of bulk email sent would be spam.
    • by Spazmania (174582)

      Zero. If you opt-in then it it's marketing, not spam.

  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The spammers still won... Sure it's only 3 dollars.. But they still won. Instead of being burned at the stake like they deserve...
    How is that justice or a good thing?

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @10:59AM (#37296512)

      The spammers still won... Sure it's only 3 dollars.. But they still won. Instead of being burned at the stake like they deserve... How is that justice or a good thing?

      It's not perfect, but it is good because Spamhaus gets to stay in business and fight spam for all of us.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Spamhaus is a British company anyway so the court had no jurisdiction over them. They only appealed on principal, there was never any prospect of them paying or being shut down.

        • by FunPika (1551249)
          Actually, when Spamhaus tried to pull the "you don't have jurisdiction over us so we're not paying this or bothering to fight it" thing after the $11.7M default judgment, the courts actually considered ordering ICANN (which IS under US Jurisdiction) to shutdown the spamhaus.org domain name. That at best would have fucked things up big time, even if anyone relying on Spamhaus got around the block.
          • by Kreigaffe (765218)

            this is old -- but if I recall correctly, I think Spamhaus got themselves into the shit PRECISELY BY responding to the summons. Granted, their response was "No.. we're not responding", but the fact that they responded was taken as acknowledgement of the court's jurisdiction. And then, when they never showed up, the court had no option but to find in favor of the plaintiff since the defendant had acknowledged the court's jurisdiction but failed to appear to defend themselves.

            Maybe i have it confused with

            • by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Saturday September 03, 2011 @03:11PM (#37297932) Journal

              I am an attorney, but this is not legal advice, and does not apply to your situation. If you want advice, pay my retainer.

              Generally, responding at all confers jurisdiction, even if there was none to start with.

              According to the opinion, spamhaus responded, and then changed it's mind.

              Under traditional rules, all that could be done was contest jurisdiction, and any other act consented to jurisdiction (my civil procedure prof actually suggested using a letter rather than regular pleadings for good measure).

              Under modern federal rules, and in most states, everything Canberra done at once--BUT you must deny Judie it croon in every pleading, or else.

              hawk, Esq.

              • by Kreigaffe (765218)

                Sweet, it's nice to know that my memory isn't completely shit-ass these days :) For just being some random schmuck I'd say I nailed the important parts pretty accurately!

                even if the end of your post makes no sense.

                do you know harvey birdman?! >:D

                • by hawk (1151)

                  Yikes. Comes from being a touch-typist using an iPad.

                  It has hard-core auto-"correct"

                  You must deny jurisdiction in every pleading--the first one in which you do not is a consent to jurisdiction.

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            They would simply have changed to a .org.uk domain name and people would have re-configured their servers. Actually the whole debacle has done little more than provide Spamhaus with free publicity and confirmation that their lists are effective, while costing the spammer some hefty legal fees.

        • by snowgirl (978879)

          Spamhaus is a British company anyway so the court had no jurisdiction over them. They only appealed on principal, there was never any prospect of them paying or being shut down.

          Yeah, "appealing on principle"... and thus making a general appearance, and submitting to the jurisdiction of the court. Good job on those principles...

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            Yeah, "appealing on principle"... and thus making a general appearance, and submitting to the jurisdiction of the court. Good job on those principles...

            Submitting in the sense that they would be completely unaffected by any ruling and not pay out any money?

            The spammer lost badly. He wasted lots of money lawyers and Spamhaus didn't.

        • by shentino (1139071)

          Responding to the summons without contesting jurisdiction was a dumb move.

          Estoppel by acquiescence.

      • The spammers still won... Sure it's only 3 dollars.. But they still won. Instead of being burned at the stake like they deserve... How is that justice or a good thing?

        It's not perfect, but it is good because Spamhaus gets to stay in business and fight spam for all of us.

        Also, the lawyers for e360 during the original case and two subsequent appeals did not work for free. e360 is much worse off than if they'd never gone after Spamhaus for damages. Meanwhile, Spamhaus saw its liability shrink from $11,700,000 to $3, so their money and time were well spent. That's not even counting the effect that this will have on those who might consider challenging them in court in the future.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They only won because Spamhaus decided not to show up to the original trial. If you don't show up, you lose.

      You can read more about it in TFA.

      • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rekoil (168689) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @11:17AM (#37296592)

        I'm guessing the $3 comes from $1 for each of the three charges in the original suit - the lowest amount a US Judge is allowed to award a plaintiff. In other words: "I have to decide in your favor, but I'll be damned if you actually get anything out of it".

      • yes and no. If the court doesn't have jurisdiction, the judge is supposed to toss the case, not rule on it anyway inspite of the fact that his ruling will be unenforceable. In this case, the judge took the word of the plaintiff (who obviously has a massive vested interest in getting a default judgement) that the court had jurisdiction, and proceeded with the case.

        • That's only if the court doesn't have jurisdiction over the offence, not if it doesn't have jurisdiction over one of the parties. If I stand in Germany and shoot someone across the border in France, then a French court can still prosecute me in absentia, but they will need to extradite me to carry out the sentence. In contrast, a British court would throw the case out, because things that happen in France are outside its jurisdiction.
          • by DavidTC (10147)

            Although it is advised not to shoot people across the border, because Germany will charge and arrest you also. If you commit a crime involving two sovereign jurisdictions, you can be charged in one, serve your sentence and then be extradited and charged in the other for the exact same action. Hence it's a pretty stupid way to 'avoid' anything.

            Technically, if the bullet passed Switzerland on the way, you could be charged there also. Seriously. If part of a crime happens in a country, they are under no oblig

            • Actually, different states are 'separate sovereigns', as is the Federal government. You can be charged by two states, and the Federal government, for the same crime. I believe it's happened previously with Mafia cases involving NJ and NY.
              • by DavidTC (10147)

                I'm pretty certain there's some sort of US constitutional legal theory stopping people from being charged by both the state and the Feds for the same crime.

                Of course, you can be charged with crimes for committing crimes. That actually happens a lot with the mafia, as RICO is a law which forbids other types of crime done in a systematic way (Or perhaps a better word is 'organized', as that is the sort of crime it is aimed at), including state crimes.

                You collect protection money from one place, it's just ex

        • by snowgirl (978879)

          yes and no. If the court doesn't have jurisdiction, the judge is supposed to toss the case, not rule on it anyway inspite of the fact that his ruling will be unenforceable. In this case, the judge took the word of the plaintiff (who obviously has a massive vested interest in getting a default judgement) that the court had jurisdiction, and proceeded with the case.

          A review of the way US courts may be in order... it is not the plaintiff's job to argue for the defense that there is a defect of jurisdiction. Since it used to be that just by appearing in front of the judge to argue any detail of the case was admitting that the court had jurisdiction, fighting a suit based on lack of personal jurisdiction used to be handled by just never showing up, having a default judgement entered, and then fighting the enforcement action brought in a court of competent jurisdiction.

          Mo

        • by shentino (1139071)

          Spamhaus consented to jurisdiction by responding to the summons and failing to challenge jurisdiction.

          OTOH, it was a stupid move that would make me consider tarring and feathering their lawyer for malpractice.

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Informative)

      by emurphy42 (631808) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @11:28AM (#37296650) Homepage

      Only after sinking however much money into lawyer's fees, and awards that low are fairly obvious code for "we're required by law to award you something, but you're a real asshat so you get the absolute minimum amount allowed".

      From a quick scan of TFA, the final judgment boils down to:

      • The spammers missed several deadlines, then blamed the last one on their lawyer dropping the ball and his partners being tied up on other cases at the time, then got an extension of a few weeks and promptly busted out a dozen-odd witnesses (they'd previously claimed that only the boss knew the relevant info) and upped their claim to about $135M. Even negligence would be grounds enough for them to lose something, and furthermore this history is evidence enough that they're deliberately screwing around and thus grounds enough for them to lose more.
      • The spammers were demanding Spamhaus to disclose irrelevant details about its employees and equipment (it was pointed out that Spamhaus doesn't track who downloads their list, so wouldn't know which ISPs might be using it to block spam).
      • Said boss's back-of-the-envelope estimate (cost of one e-mail multiplied by number of e-mails he thinks were blocked because Spamhaus listed them as an alleged spammer) bounced around so much ($11M to $135M to $122M to $30M) that he was clearly exceeding his reasonable business knowledge, thus the whole idea was thrown out for lack of evidence.
      • The $27K was based on "okay, fine, we'll buy you lost three client contracts a month earlier than you would have otherwise", but $27K was revenue and it was pointed out that they should be looking at profit instead. Said boss claimed it was pure profit because "the e-mails were already sent"; this was questioned generally and specifically, and also thrown out for lack of evidence.
    • by Vellmont (569020)


      The spammers still won... Sure it's only 3 dollars

      I'm not sure you quite understand civil lawsuits. Lawsuits are about one thing. Money. Money you win, and money you cost the other party. They're never about "winning". This isn't a chess game.

      A $3 judgement is a total failure. Why? Spamhaus decided to not fight the lawsuit, largely because they didn't believe the US courts held any jurisdiction over a UK operation. So the initial judgement was a default one against them. The judge coming back with a

      • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @12:30PM (#37296960) Journal
        There's one important thing about having the spammers win: you can appeal if you lose a case, you can't appeal if you win. If the judge had ruled against the spammers, then they could have appealed at the next court up and wasted more time and money. This judgement means that Spamhaus can appeal if they want (which, I presume, they won't), but the spammers have to accept the judgement. The point of an award like this is to say 'you are technically in the right as a point of law, but you shouldn't actually win, no go home.'
        • by Vellmont (569020)


          The point of an award like this is to say 'you are technically in the right as a point of law, but you shouldn't actually win, no go home.'

          As I understand it, the appeal was about the amount of damages awarded, and had nothing to do with who was "correct". The point of the $3 was essentially "I can't rule on who was correct, since that's not being disputed. I can rule that you've shown no damages at all, so I'm awarding you $1 per claim, the minimum I'm allowed to award."

        • In this case the ruling clearly states that BOTH parties appealed the damages ruling. Spamhaus because they contended that the damages were for gross income not net income and e360 because the damages were too small. Who was at fault had already been determined and was not an issue.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      The only reason this case even got as far as it did was because the court improperly assumed jurisdiction.

      Of course, Spamhaus (or malpracticing lawyers on their behalf) acquiesced by responding to the lawsuit and then flopping off the radar by ignoring the summons and not even moving for dismissal. They jumped onto the barbecue and didn't jump off when the fire started.

      And you're right, they won.

      Which is bad precedent.

  • by h2oliu (38090) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @11:25AM (#37296632)

    If they created a site where people could donate $3 to them, I wonder how many people would contribute?

    • by fafaforza (248976)

      Or people could pay for their service, even if it is for a personal mail server.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      I would like to donate to them, but I don't want the funds to go toward legal expenses. How do I earmark the funds specifically for use to buy bullets?
  • I'd like to read the RTFA (or the ruling), but why on FSM's green earth do we, in 2011, have, instead of plain easy-to-read text, the image of text, rendered using fancy Javascript interface, using only about 30% of my 1280x800 screen? Where scrolling is "smooth" (i.e. laggy)?

    Fuck this stupidity...

    • Well, we're all disappointed that the ruling was a PDF and that the court doesn't use ASCII for your viewing pleasure. Maybe you should stick to browsing with Lynx on a VT100.
      • Maybe you should stick to browsing with Lynx on a VT100.

        Feh. Kids these days. Real men use VT52s and self-written EVE/TPU macros.

        • by tqk (413719)

          Real men use VT52s and self-written EVE/TPU macros.

          Damn. I'd almost forgotten about EVE, now ... :-P

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        It's a windows world. Everyone is used to the simplest things requiring huge resources. When we all get 1 gigabit internet connections they'll come out with something that will be so bloated you'll need 3 hours to download the Gettysburg Address.

      • by DRBivens (148931)

        The link is to a scribd page, not a PDF, and scribed--a you-can't-copy-this-document publishing solution--uses a UI that sucks for many people.

        Were it a PDF, it probably would have been fine. Perhaps we should check our facts before we jump all over the person.

        Naaaaaaaaa! (Apologies to Steve Martin...)

        • by julesh (229690)

          The link is to a scribd page, not a PDF, and scribed--a you-can't-copy-this-document publishing solution--uses a UI that sucks for many people.

          f it's a "you-can't-copy-this-document publishing solution" why is there a big green button labelled "Download" in the bottom right of the page?

    • LaTeX would make an excellent format for court decisions. Maybe I should propose a $1billion overhaul of the system ;-)

  • I would have awarded them three fiddy. :-)

    -Hack

  • The initial victory in 2006 was in part due to the inability of the courts to grasp exactly what companies like 360 do for a living, and even less of an understanding how much they earn from their misdeeds. Everyone has a right to make cash, but to blame your entire shoddy organization's profits on a non-profits attempts to filter out noise is ludicrous to begin with and naive at best. Roll forward to 7 years since the suit was filed and you have a court that's at least partially educated and in some furthe
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      Isn't this kind of like the tobacco producers suing thetruth.org? Or no, I guess it is not because at least tobacco is actually legal.
  • If the e360 beancounters are as inapt as their lawyers, they might cash it in and hence by willful act accept the judgment (well, at least if the US system works similar to what I'm used to).

  • by Software Geek (1097883) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @01:17PM (#37297198)

    The defendant made legal errors regarding personal jurisdiction, thus losing their opportunity to get the case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction AND their opportunity to argue the merits.
    The plaintiff made legal errors regarding discovery, thus losing their opportunity to recover damages.
    The trial judge made legal errors that twice resulted in the verdict being overturned.

    In the end, the case was decided without any actual evidence on the merits being admitted.

    Justice!

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      The defendant made legal errors regarding personal jurisdiction, thus losing their opportunity to get the case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction AND their opportunity to argue the merits.
      The plaintiff made legal errors regarding discovery, thus losing their opportunity to recover damages.
      The trial judge made legal errors that twice resulted in the verdict being overturned.

      In the end, the case was decided without any actual evidence on the merits being admitted.

      Justice!

      And after all of this, $3 changes hands. Oh, except for the undoubtedly enormous sums paid to the lawyers on all sides.

      Working as intended.

  • by Xacid (560407) on Saturday September 03, 2011 @04:22PM (#37298334) Journal

    What I don't understand is how this is a "win". Yes, the court slapped SH on the wrist, but they still ruled against them. No beneficial precedent is set that I can see.

    • What I don't understand is how this is a "win". Yes, the court slapped SH on the wrist, but they still ruled against them. No beneficial precedent is set that I can see.

      Precedent? In a civil suit? Stare Decisis is not operative in a civil suit, for good reason. Be illuminated. [wikipedia.org]

      • by anagama (611277)
        Man, I was going to mod up the guy who linked to the PDF instead of the stupid scribd thing, but then, right there at the bottom of the page above the "moderate" button, was your post.

        Stare Decisis most definitely applies in civil cases. I think where you are getting confused, is the line that says:

        The doctrine that holdings have binding precedence value is not valid within most civil law jurisdictions as it is generally understood that this principle interferes with the right of judges to interpret law

        • by anagama (611277)
          oops, now that I've gotten around to looking at the PDF of the decision, I see it is a Court of Appeals decision so it is precedential in 7th Circuit.
      • by cfulmer (3166)
        You're confusing a Civil Law regime with a Civil Suit. Precedent does indeed matter in civil matters. After all, Sony v. Universal (the betamax case) was a civil suit that made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The thing that means that there's no precedent is that Spamhaus didn't defend the complaint -- e360 won by default.
    • by cfulmer (3166)
      e360 won on what most people would call a technicality -- Spamhaus never defended itself on the claim, so the court entered a default judgment against it. It was only when it came time to talk about damages that Spamhaus showed up in court. So, basically, the court HAD to say "You've been found (by default) to have done these things. Now, how much damage did you cause e360? Oh, none? Well, then you only have to pay 'nominal' damages. There were three claims, so that's $3."
    • In the original trial, Spamhaus skipped defending themselves in court and the original court entered a default judgement. Non-appellate courts, even with non-default judgments, don't make precedent.

      This appeals process was not based on the existence of the award but on the amount of it.

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