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Spam United States Your Rights Online

US House, Senate Agree on Anti-Spam Bill 448

Folic_Acid writes "Rep. Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, has announced that the House and the Senate have reached a deal to both pass an anti-spam bill, the first ever federal anti-spam law in the United States. Specifically, the law contains: opt-out, authority for the FTC to set up a "Do-Not-SPAM" registry, criminal charges for fraudulent spam, including five years in prison, statutory damages of $2 million for violations, tripled to $6 million for intentional violations, unlimited damages for fraud and abuse." has a copy of the bill and a story.
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US House, Senate Agree on Anti-Spam Bill

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  • SPAM fines (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dolo666 ( 195584 ) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:26PM (#7532038) Journal
    "Enforces statutory damages of $2 million for violations, tripled to $6 million for intentional violations, and unlimited damages for fraud and abuse."

    Does this mean that if you are a spammer in the USA, and you spam addresses outside of the US, you will be fined $6 million dollars? Or does it mean that if you are a spammer from outside the USA, and you spam inside the USA, you will be fined by the USA for doing so? Or does it cover both as international violations?

    How is the average SPAMming scumbag supposed to know where his 1.6 million email addresses are going? Do you look at every AOL email addy and assume it's linked to a user in the states? Okay, now what about Hotmail? Does this mean a new database of SPAMworthy email addys will be created so that SPAMmmers will have to use it against their lists, to prevent fines? Might be a good way to lower the bounce-count, at the bare min... not to mention, a way to perhaps add a SPAM-surcharge, so that SPAMmers will have to pay to SPAM.

    The meaning of this could get mixed into a quagmire. I wouldn't care, because they are spammers (so who cares anyway), but I wouldn't want to see some of the more savvy ones wiggle off the hook because of some point of law that was overlooked. I mean, at least the law is here, but let's really have at it and make it solid.

    IANAL, but American law only applies to America, right? How are they going to stop the spam coming into the states? Many of the offenders exist outside the States. Is if the next US lead war is going to be against countries who SPAM, and rip off Americans with Nigerian scams? That'd be funny as hell!

    But as for unlimited damages for fraud and abuse, I think it's a good idea that the US Gov't has the power to bankrupt SPAM companies that lie, cheat and steal. How can I convince my own govrenment (Canada) to do something like this?
  • How? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves ( 236787 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:26PM (#7532042)
    How can any of them possibly believe that this would do any good?
  • Exactly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by setzman ( 541053 ) <stzman@stzmanple ... minu> on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:27PM (#7532056) Journal
    How will this be enforced? The global nature of the Internet seems to be unmanagable by a single government.
  • how long before... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by civilengineer ( 669209 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:29PM (#7532075) Homepage Journal
    some state court says that's unconstitutional and lets spammers spam?
  • Translated version (Score:3, Insightful)

    by momerath2003 ( 606823 ) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:29PM (#7532077) Journal
    If anyone wants to hear that in English, it sounds like they're saying that the MPAA- and RIAA- bots don't count as SPAM.

    Too bad.
  • Re:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peezer ( 682955 ) <(pizarro) (at) (> on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:31PM (#7532106)
    I think that congress (and your average citizen) believes that legislation is the solution to most problems. The SPAM wars will be fought and won with innovative technology, not with legislation. Don't get me wrong, some of the acts spammers engage in should definitely be illegal. But they should be illegal on principled grounds, no on the hope of detterence.
  • by deadmongrel ( 621467 ) <> on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:31PM (#7532111) Homepage
    The very idea of don't email list is stupid. the only way to fight spam is by attacking their business model. You get spam because some idiot thinks he is getting a good deal for the product that the spammer sells. don't the law makers know that there is a diff between phones and emails? it costs real money to call someone to sell something but it costs almost nothing to send out emails. Also what about security for these Don't-emails-lists(if they are created)? what are they going to do give the spammer a list of email address he shouldn't email? yeah right. I bet the spammers would support this bill.
  • by GreyPoopon ( 411036 ) < minus herbivore> on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:32PM (#7532115)
    If anyone wants to hear that in English, it sounds like they're saying that the MPAA- and RIAA- bots don't count as SPAM.

    They do if the the intended recipient of the mail is not, indeed, using said protected material unlawfully. Hmmmmmm. This could be VERY interesting the next time they make a mistake on the identity of the alleged pirate.

  • by Jammer@CMH ( 117977 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:33PM (#7532130)
    If I read that right, it appears to say that an electronic mail message sent by or on behalf of one or more lawful owners of copyright, patent, publicity, or trademark rights to an innocent person is SPAM. Fascinating. What is the RIAA's error rate, and what is the fine for repeated violations?
  • This is a BAD bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:35PM (#7532156)
    This is a BAD bill... it preempts all state spam laws -- some of which are actually decent, and let US the CONSUMERS go after the spammers instead of depending on fat, lazy, guberment morons to do it.

    Don't preempt the SPAM state laws!!!
  • by xSquaredAdmin ( 725927 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:35PM (#7532160)
    whose computers are hacked by spammers, who proceed to use that person's e-mail address as a source of spam? Are they gonna make those people pay the $2 million?
  • Re:SPAM fines (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:36PM (#7532163)
    $2 million for violations, tripled to $6 million for intentional violations

    Sounds like they're making a distinction between intentional and non-intentional... as in hijacked pc's??? I don't want to wake up one day and have a $2 mill lawsuit on my front door having no clue someone hijacked my pc and sent spam. I'm pretty up on my protection and common sense, but this is kinda scary. ????
  • Re:How? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:37PM (#7532181) Homepage Journal
    Effectiveness doesn't matter. What does matter is that these congressmen and senators can now add "fighting to protect your family from the horrors of spam email" to their campaign literature for next fall. For a certain portion of voters (read: the tech-norant), this actually looks like action...

    Hey, I kinda like that word. Tech-norant, as in "tech ignorant."
  • Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mike Hawk ( 687615 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:37PM (#7532183) Journal
    Thats a tough one. Generally its not considered unsolicited advertising if you have prior business with the entity. See the Do-Not-Call list. If I have a credit card with a bank, and the banks calls me out of the blue to try to sell me anti-fraud protection, that is legal, and should be. If one is using the material of the copyright, patent, publicity, or trademark rights holder, you have prior business with the entity (business that was initiated by the end user, specifically). Therefore, like Do-Not-Call, that entity is allowed to contact you to offer such wonderful opportunities as settling out of court to avoid a massive infringement lawsuit.

    I fail to see the problem, or even while this special exemption was necessary. Also note this would protect rights holders whose works are published under the GPL as well as the **AA.

    So hate on haters.
  • by originalTMAN ( 694813 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:37PM (#7532185)
    I would 1.) Rather be notified if I was in violation of someone elses licence/copyright/patent/trademark. I like not getting randomly sued for... say... using a coca-cola logo on my homepage which sells homebrew snowboarding t-shirts. 2.) Would like the ability to notify others if they were violating my intellectual property. Maybe I'm missing something... how is this so different than a "friendly" notice. It's better than a supoena, no? Last time I checked, its not just coorporations that can have IP.
  • Translation - "If we think you stole something from us, we can contact you." I don't think that's unreasonable.
  • by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:38PM (#7532194) Journal
    "how long before some state court says that's unconstitutional and lets spammers spam?"

    Pretty long, seeing as state courts can't rule on a Federal issue. Spam, being 'insterstate commerce' (in a manner of speaking) is most certainly all Federal. I also doubt there are many Federal courts that would consider the question of the bill's constitutionality. You have the right to speak, not to be heard; most certainly not at someone else's expense. If you had the right to be heard by your audience, you could sue deaf people for violating your right to free speech. How absurd is that? Free speech protects you when you're standing on a corner preaching your religious views or publishing a political opposition newspaper. It does not force everyone to stop and listen to you speak, nor force anyone to buy a copy of your newspaper.

    If spammers want to continue to spam legally, they ought to stand on a street corner and hand out fliers to anyone who wants one. Thus, the optimal example of an 'opt-in' system. The way it works now, they're jamming the fliers into your pocket, whether you want them or not, to the point that your pockets explode when you get home. Every time you try to cover your pockets, they find another way to jam another flier into your pants. Activity like that would get you shot in New York, and perhaps worse in L.A.

  • by jkujawa ( 56195 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:38PM (#7532195) Homepage
    An experiment.

    I'm going to create a new email account, and register it on the "do not spam" registry. It will have a random account name on my own domain.
    I will not use this account for anything else.

    As a control, I will create another random account under the same domain, and not use it anywhere, even on the "do not spam" registry.

    I will measure how long it takes before the first address receives spam, how long before the second receives spam, and the amount of spam each receives.

    Hypothesis: The first account will start receiving spam almost immediately. Due to the nature of the spam, the second should never receive spam unless someone is sending email to random 8-character accounts at my domain (brute force attack).
  • A little overbroad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wizarddc ( 105860 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:42PM (#7532248) Homepage Journal
    As much as I hate spam, it shouldn't be a criminal offense, and especially should not have a prison sentence. Prisons are for those who are dangerous to society, and spam is just annoying, not dangerous. The unlimited damages part is scary enough, but I don't want my tax money paying for some spammer to get raped bi-weekly.
  • by jjo ( 62046 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:42PM (#7532249) Homepage
    The only way a do-not-spam list will be effective is if it includes whole domains. For example, if AOL could specify that any address in is to be considered on the do-not-spam list, then the list would be worth something. This would make the list easy to deal with, since you wouldn't need to keep it secret.

    The previous version of the bill didn't specify whether entire domains would be included, but apparently left it to the FCC to decide. Of course, the DMA and their pet congressmen want the bill as weak as possible, so the latest draft of the bill might have been changed to prohibit inclusion of entire domains.
  • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by revmoo ( 652952 ) <> on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:45PM (#7532274) Homepage Journal
    No, It's a _horrible_ idea. Two things.

    (1.) U.S. Laws only reach as far as U.S. borders. Where does 95% of spam come from?

    (2.) What is to stop spammers(who have previously shown themselves to be willing to break the law and root people's servers to use as relays) from using this Do-not-spam list as a database to spam? I mean, think about it, a nice, large index of completely valid email addresses? This is spammer gold people!
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by corebreech ( 469871 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:50PM (#7532323) Journal
    So hate on haters.


    You're missing the point. The question isn't so much whether their email should be considered spam, as it is the fact that such a provision is front-loaded into legislation that on its face has absolutely nothing to do with copyright issues.

    This is particularly relevant given the past instances of industry involvement in the legislative process, and most especially the DMCA itself, which it has been alleged saw language included at the last moment on behest of the RIAA that was never approved by any member of the House or Senate.

    In other words, it is just another example of corruption of our government by the "entertainment" industry.

    Maybe if these people spent less time choking our freedoms with self-serving laws and spent more time on creating art we wouldn't have to deal with fare such as Matrix: Sucks and Matrix: Really Sucks.
  • Unbelievable.

    You mean that a message from a wounded party asking the (possibly inadvertant) offender to stop the tort is unbelievable?


    The darn law doesn't mean that an e-mail is now legal service; it means that the RIAA won't have a "we'd get sued" excuse to not try and tell people "please stop that, we see what you're doing" before starting a lawsuit.
  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:57PM (#7532382)
    This has been a long time coming

    Judging by the text of the bill, not long enough.

    Properly implemented, a law would be a good thing, but this misses on several counts..

    First - it defines spam incorrectly.

    Spam is unsolicited bulk email. This uses the term 'unsolicited commercial electronic mail message' - whether an email is commercial or not is irrelevant as to whether it is spam. Although the majority of spam is commercial in nature, not all of it is, just as not all unsolicited commercial email is spam (as evidenced by their need to include an exemption for copyright infringement notices.)

    Second, the fact that it's opt-out, means that it legalizes spam - it's a pro-spam bill, not an anti-spam bill.

    I haven't finished reading it, but if it overrides state legislation, then it's the worst possible outcome.
  • by tpengster ( 566422 ) <slash&tpengster,com> on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:57PM (#7532393)
    $5 * 27 million = $135 million. Not $1.3 billion
  • Re:Finally! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:59PM (#7532406)
    (1) I'll take that 5% reduction.
    (2) You're right. Hopefully they're smart enough to hash it first, or something. Once a claim is made, hash th email address and if the hash, matches, then the email adresses were the same. But the spammer can't go backwards on it, so it doesn't do him any good.
  • by The Bod ( 18970 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:02PM (#7532440)
    We don't need and shouldn't want a Do-Not-Spam registry. It should be a Do-Spam list. Spammers will only be able to spam people who put their name on the list. This way I don't have to publish my e-mail address to spammers who don't yet have it telling them not to spam me. Punishment for spamming people not on the list will be the death penalty.
  • by herrvinny ( 698679 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:02PM (#7532446)
    You are 100% correct. If they move all operations overseas, I'll block all foreign IP's, except perhaps Canada, Britain, and a few Western Europe nations. China wants to send me email? Forget it. Start cracking down on spammers as much as the Falun Gong, and then I'll consider it. Hell, if foreign countries are so lax, perhaps someone can buy a server in Indonesia or somewhere and DOS the spamming servers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:03PM (#7532451)
    They do if the the intended recipient of the mail is not, indeed, using said protected material unlawfully. Hmmmmmm. This could be VERY interesting the next time they make a mistake on the identity of the alleged pirate.
    Yep, I suspect this was inserted to keep the powerful RIAA lobbyists from killing the bill. But in their arrogance they don't seem to have noticed that their protection from being accused of spamming depends on their claims of infringement being shown to be valid.

    In lawyer-speak, what they really want in this legislation would involve terms like the email being sent on the "good faith" assumption that a violation was occurred. "Good faith" for lawyers is a claim that they're trying to do the right thing, whether or not they are succeeding.

    Let's hope the RIAA lobbyists don't follow SlashDot and this passes as is.

  • great... wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by griffjon ( 14945 ) <GriffJon@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:07PM (#7532500) Homepage Journal
    How is this not an international please-spam-me,-here's-my-favorite-and-most-privat e-email-address list? Even if it prevents US companies from spamming you, it's like a golden list for most spammers in the world.

    And even if they MD5 each address or something not-totally-braindead, it turns into a us spammer hash-checking, finding it on the do-not-spam list, and selling it to a foreign counterpart as a quality address.

  • by Performer Guy ( 69820 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:08PM (#7532508)
    This is horribly flawed.

    This list will need to be distributed for spammers to check it for compliance. When it gets distributed it will be explicitly added to all spam lists by illegal spammers and list aggregators. All current and future illegal and foreign spammers (i.e. most of them) will then bombard everyone on the list with more spam.

    As usual they will get away scott free thanks to hijacked servers and IP blocks foreign immunity & the usual shady practices.

    This is unworkable.
  • Re:Finally.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joe Wagner ( 547696 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:12PM (#7532547) Homepage
    As owner of a business who has taken spammers to court [] and whose lawfirm defended California's current antispam law in the CA Supreme Court, let me be emphatic: This is a horrible law. It absolutely overides California and all other state laws which is why the DMA is pushing for it so hard. It removes a private right of action for end users. Let's be clear:

    This law makes it legal to send spam in all 50 states.

    The law has many things wrong with it:
    • It removes any and all laws individual states passed to protect their citizens.
    • It removes private right of actions. Junk faxes are only just annoying rather than crippling today because of the TCPA, which allows Joe Public call to carpet any junk faxer in small claims court for $1500/fax.
    • Anyone can spam you until you specifically asked them to stop -- what percentage of the 25 million business in the US do you think you have time to individually contact.
    • "Valid" return addresses on spam offers no aid to people fighting spam. How does a spammer having some (possibly even valid) street address in an obscure corner of the world and an mail server that dumps all incoming email to /dev/null give me any help in fighting spam. A large percentage of our incoming spam all have "valid" return addresses.
    • In 1991, Congress authorized the telephone "do not call list" by the FTC. That list took more than a decade to go into effect. How long do you think you'll wait for this one?
    • "At the FTC's Spam Forum in May 2003, FTC officials and a representative of the National Association of Attorney's General stated clearly that neither the FTC nor state law enforcement agencies have the time, money, or resources, needed to engage in enough anti-spam prosecutions to make a dent in the problem." (
    • As currently written, the email "do not call list" will only be by individual email address, not by domain.
    Time in earnest to call your local congressional rep. The Senate appears to be a lost cause.
  • by g_adams27 ( 581237 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:20PM (#7532633)
    > This is horribly flawed.
    > This is unworkable

    Please see my previous posting [] on why this is actually very workable.

    There's no reason you can't give a spammer an encrypted list of addresses. All they have to do take one of their addresses, encrypt it, and compare the encrypted address with each address on the Do-Not-Spam list. If they match, then the address must be removed.

    No decryption of the Do-Not-Spam list required.

  • by BigJavaGeek ( 649952 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:24PM (#7532672)
    Until the protocols are modified (or new ones adapted, more likely) that make it unprofitable to send SPAM, it will not end. As long as it costs virtually nothing to send email, even a .001% response rate is profitable.

    1. Convince entire internet population never to respond to SPAM - impossible.
    2. Add some CPU cycles to send each email. If mail servers were required to perform some reasonable expensive operations (calculate some expensive hash) that made it cost some money (even .1 cent per would be enough) to send email, SPAM would not be profitable.
    3. Require white listing before email accepted (send some message requesting to be put on accept list first, recipient must approve).

    2 or 3 could solve the problem, but neither will happen until the system becomes completely unusable. Nobody likes to adopt new technologies, and no two vendors are going to agree on the proper solution until forced.

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

    by adamfranco ( 600246 ) <> on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:27PM (#7532699) Homepage
    I imagine that this will not be "enforced" so much as used as the charge in court when people complain about a spammer.

    If I may provide an example:
    J. Random Person is fed up with spam from the infamous Mr. Rawlsky []. In order to combat this, J. signs up with the "Do Not Spam" list.

    Several months go by to allow Mr. Ralsky time to get the list and remove addresses from it. However, Mr. Ralsky doesn't remove J.'s email address and J. (after some careful tracking with his anti-spam breathren) forwards his email to the FTC. Mr. Ralsky is screwed.

    Granted, this only works if you can trace the identity of a spammer, but at least now there can be some recourse if that identity is successfully traced. Yes spammers will get better at hiding their tracks, but at least some will be stopped.

  • by eaolson ( 153849 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:30PM (#7532725)
    This is not an anti-spam bill. This is a pro-spam bill. (I'm looking at S.1231 on, and assuming that's the latest version.)

    It seems like the meat of this bill is in this clause:

    ... it shall be unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission of any UCE to a protected computer unless the message provides clear and conspicuous identification that the message is an advertisement or solicitation, by providing, as the first characters in the subject line, `ADV:'.
    So, basically, spam all you want as long as the recipient isn't on the do-not-spam list, and as long as the spam is labeled. Point-by-point for today's news release:
    1. Empowers American consumers with the right to opt-out of all unwanted and unsolicited commercial e-mail or SPAM.

      The bill is opt-out. Enough said.

    2. Provides the FTC with the authority to set up a "Do-Not-SPAM" registry based on Chairman Tauzin's work on the "Do-Not-Call" registry for unwanted and unsolicited telemarketing telephone calls.

      Won't work, for many reasons that have been copiously explained elsewhere. Primarily, great, give the spammers a list of valid email addresses.

    3. Grants the strongest available protection for parents and consumers to say "no" to the receipt of pornographic SPAM.

      The pornifity of the email is irrelevant. Spam is spam. Again, you have to say "no," possibly thousands or tens of thousands of times. Opt-out.

    4. Makes it a crime, subject to five years in prison, to send fraudulent SPAM.

      But non-fraudulent spam is ok? I thought fraud, whatever the medium, was already illegal.

    5. Allows the FTC and state attorneys general the ability to vigorously enforce the laws contained in the anti-SPAM legislation.

      I just don't see the point of a law where enforcement is not permitted.

    6. Enforces statutory damages of $2 million for violations, tripled to $6 million for intentional violations, and unlimited damages for fraud and abuse.

      Spam is abuse of the email system. Who can sue for these statutory damages? The ISP, the recipient, the states?

  • IAAL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unassimilatible ( 225662 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @07:10PM (#7533017) Journal
    Are you a lawyer? I am. I am not incorrect. The safe harbor provision has been widely-interpreted as applying to Web sites as well as OSPs. Web sites which, like /., allow anyone to post on them are considered OSPs for the purpose of DMCA.

    And since Web sites are often maintained by various people, the DMCA safe harbor generally applies, which is why most commercial Web sites have DMCA contact info for an agent to receive notices of claimed infringement.

    Obviously, if the infringer infringes on purpose, there is no safe harbor.
  • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pjrc ( 134994 ) <> on Friday November 21, 2003 @07:18PM (#7533080) Homepage Journal
    Where does 95% of spam come from?

    The USA. Well, maybe not exactly 95%, but certainly the vast majority is sent by people in the USA, plugging "products" targeted at US citizens. Spamhaus is currently not responding, otherwise I'd provide a link to the page with their research about the big spammers. They're almost all in the USA.

    The fact that messages originate from open relays in Asia does not change the fact that the people responsible for sending those messages are in the US.

    What is to stop spammers ... from using this Do-not-spam list as a database

    Enforcement of the law. If the law isn't enforced, it won't discourage any of them. But if it is (and we can only hope), and some spammers get a criminal conviction with jail time, it will likely cause other spammers to stop, or move overseas.

    We can only hope a number of prosecuters out there have been refraining because there weren't any specific laws and the prospects for putting spammers behind bars were slim. If that changes, we can optimistically hope a number of attorney generals in various states (cough, Florida, cough) will "make an example" out of their state's notorious spammers... and of course make a big public scene about what heros they are for it.

  • Re:Nonsense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by milkman_matt ( 593465 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @07:21PM (#7533091)
    I don't think I see anything wrong with the section in question in regards to copyright holders being able to contact you... It makes sense to me.. They're just saying "If you're stealing from someone, they can contact you and tell you to stop without being sued for it". Then again, I don't see such a message as spam, seeing as how they're not trying to sell me anything or scam me, so it's probably redundant and unnecessary that it's in there anyways. They're just trying to keep people from trying to weasel out of being contacted by saying "ooh, no, you spammed me, you're not going to sue me, i'm going to sue YOU!" which would be bullshit anyways. That's just my take on it though.. I could be way off base.


  • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by monkeydo ( 173558 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @07:23PM (#7533110) Homepage
    No. This is very, very, bad. I cannot believe that on /. where mistrusting the government is a tautology anyone would think this is a good idea. Do you realy want the government telling you what you can and can't put in an email? This bill will make it a FEDERAL OFFENSE punishable by _years_ in federal POUND ME IN THE ASS prison for registering domain names with fake contact information of they originate UCE. Has anyone here ever heard of a joe-job? Know all I have to do is make sure I find your domains with bogus WHOIS data (how many people use 111 Main St?) and spoof the from address. Now the FBI comes and takes YOU away.
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by milkman_matt ( 593465 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @07:24PM (#7533127)
    There isn't a problem, and it probably isn't necessary. It's still interesting to see that the RIAA managed to get this one in to cover their asses just in case someone tries to use the law against them. It really goes to show you who makes the laws in this country.

    I agree that this line probably is a totally unnecessary addition, but I don't see any evidence that it was put there by the RIAA or MPAA or any other such AA, it doesn't say "The RIAA and MPAA will be able to write you, this does not go for any other copyright holders" so it protects ALL copyright holders equally (even though this isn't even ABOUT copyright, it's about spam, so it's stupid that it's even mentioned IMO)


  • Re:Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chip rosenthal ( 74184 ) <> on Friday November 21, 2003 @07:26PM (#7533139) Homepage
    That's true. But keep in mind that Tauzin is said to be the first choice for head of the MPAA when Jack Valenti retires. It makes sense they've got a direct line into all his technology legislation. Heck, he may have inserted that himself without their prompting.
  • by alehmann ( 50545 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @07:29PM (#7533159) Homepage
    Much of the spam we get comes from mailing lists. This kind of scheme would require every list admin to submit all their mailing list addresses to some stupid opt out lists. There are many examples of this not being practical, such as the Debian bug tracking system which has a different email address of each bug (and there are over 200k). FWIW, it does receive spams that clutter up bug audit trails and are extremely annoying. Being allowed to spam should not be the default.
  • by T-Ranger ( 10520 ) <> on Friday November 21, 2003 @08:31PM (#7533534) Homepage
    Definition [re]

    A couple of notes:
    - Content of a message is not relevent.
    - Significantly, spam is spam if the recipient is irrelevent. RIAA/MPAA's messages would be sent to specific people.

    RIAA/MPAA might be evil bastards, but their not evil bastards because of this....

  • by inquisitor ( 88155 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @09:10PM (#7533700) Homepage Journal
    By the looks of it, this law isn't even going to stop some nimrod in the United States from spamming you.

    The crime is "sending FRAUDULENT spam". It's an opt-out law. It lets 'charities' and 'political organisations' spam you. And there's a nice little clause in there which means that it's only fraudulent if you forge five or more addresses. NOT GOOD.

    Be prepared for spam to dwarf Swen as the biggest bandwidth hit on the Net next year. And legally, you can't do a goddamn thing; it's whack-a-mole all over again.
  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @01:04AM (#7534650) Journal
    The clause is not unreasonable. That they have the power to see it inserted in a bill that has absolutely NO relation to them whatsoever is the problem. This law wouldn't make their actions illegal by any measure WITHOUT that clause being there.

    The big issue today isn't even the actions of these corporations, it's the power and influence they hold. That microsoft illegally abuses it's monopoly is one thing, that microsoft had the power to weasel out of the issue is far far worse. That the RIAA is suing 12 and 15yr olds is one thing, that they have the power to insert whatever they want into any law they want is again FAR FAR worse.
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CitizenJohnJohn ( 640701 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @07:33AM (#7535591)

    "its not considered unsolicited advertising if you have prior business with the entity"

    Only because direct-marketing scum have brainwashed us into believing that certain types of business have special rights to intrude on our time and waste it to their commercial ends.

    Do you really believe that absolutely anyone you have ever done business with, of any kind, suddenly has the right to contact you, at any time, to attempt to renew or continue that business? Your bank? You insurance agency? Your plumber? Joe's Cabs? Pizza Heaven? Wal-mart?

    It's total nonsense. Business transactions are one-offs. If I want to do business with you again I will contact you. If you attempt to waste my time, not only will you likely cop an earful of abuse but there is no way I will do business with you ever again.

    While direct marketing exists -- be it by phone, snail mail, or people ringing your doorbell -- spammers will rightly point to it as providing moral justification for their activities. I see no qualitative difference between someone advertising Viagra in my Inbox and someone phoning me up to see if I want to sell my house. It's all an unnecessary intrusion on my time. A plague on the lot of them, and on fools who value their personal time so little as to tolerate them.

  • by inquisitor ( 88155 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @08:46AM (#7535715) Homepage Journal
    (Note: I define 'spam' as not just dodgy commercial email from Penis Pill Ltd or Pyramid Scheme Inc or whomever, and not just UCE from any business in general, but as bulk email unrequested by the recipient. Full stop.)

    The US-originating spammers already use open proxies, r00ted cablemodem boxes and other funness to market their sites, generally hosted on dodgy ISPs in the Far East (China especially) using fake WHOIS registrations and idiotic registrars (VeriSign et al). You really think this law is going to stop these people? There's no trail of proof with these guys. Only the idiots will go to jail, and that's if the government can be bothered prosecuting; a good comparison is, which is illegal (and knows it) but still keeps on running, flipping the bird at the FTC.

    (In the UK, we're getting a fudge of a spam law; spam to consumers is banned, but spam to businesses is just fine. Even that's better than this thing.)

    And besides, just banning 'fraudulent' spam will mean that people will just spam 'legitimately'. "This is a commercial advertisment as specified by the CAN SPAM act (S.823). Therefore, it is not spam since we provide the following add-your-name-to-our-billions-CDs^Wremove link." We already had that with S.1618 and that didn't even become law.

    This bill is a disaster waiting to happen, just designed to let the DMA open the floodgates; so therefore, be prepared for a wave of 'legitimate' spam from every business you can think of (given their 'get out of jail free' card.) Won't be fraudulent, won't be forged. Will be spam, but the government won't care.

    I didn't read the bill enough to see whether it prevented us from blocking them, but let's hope it doesn't; even then, it'll be a whack-a-mole worse than Sanford Wallace at his peak.

"Paul Lynde to block..." -- a contestant on "Hollywood Squares"