×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

216 comments

First Amendment covers ads? (4, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279296)

Does the first amendment apply in this case? The man is sending mail from overseas servers that have no intent other than selling something. I know that the first amendment doesn't cover dangerous communication, or communication about illegal acts, but does it cover bad, mass advertising that costs the end user money and that they can't really opt out of?

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1, Insightful)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279344)

Does the first amendment apply in this case? The man is sending mail from overseas servers that have no intent other than selling something. I know that the first amendment doesn't cover dangerous communication, or communication about illegal acts, but does it cover bad, mass advertising that costs the end user money and that they can't really opt out of?
I'd like to think it does.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (3, Informative)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279430)

The first amendment doesn't cover theft of resources, scamming, lies, shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre, etc.

The "theft of resources" was already dealt with by people who successfully sued for junk faxes. The first amendment doesn't apply.

The scamming and lies are covered by various legislation that requires truth in advertising.

The "shouting fire" was decided LONG ago ...

Hopefully, this is only going to appeal so that the guy wastes more $$$ and still gets the door slammed on his much-pounded-upon ass.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (-1, Offtopic)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279604)

Yes, but if we vote for Hillary, it'll keep the Democrats busy until the primary and make McCain look less old and stuffy.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (5, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279654)

The appeal definitely won't go anywhere. Commercial speech is the least protected of all categories of speech and can be fairly thoroughly subjected to time, place, and manner restrictions. These, in turn, have a four-part test for their constitutionality:

  • Is the restriction content-neutral? It passes this test because it applies to all commercial speech, not just ads for certain types of products.
  • Does the regulation support a significant governmental interest? Yes. It is designed to reduce the severe burden that processing this junk mail causes to the citizens of the country as a whole.
  • Is it narrowly tailored? It passes this test because it is carefully crafted specifically to limit the harmful effects of the speech--specifically, the electronic equivalent of littering--without preventing legitimate communication between a company and its clients (with explicit opt-in and real opt-out).
  • Does it leave open ample alternative channels of communication? It passes this test because again, it allows this communication, but only with consent.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280004)

Do you have a source for that? I'd like to read it.

I once knew a spammer (by family, not by choice) and he would always claim it was protected speech under the 1st amendment despite my protests to the contrary.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23280174)

I once knew a spammer
I'm glad you took care of him. Thanks :)

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23280354)

The appeal definitely won't go anywhere.

Meanwhile my snail-mail box will continue to be overloaded with junk mail everyday? Something is amiss.

On another note, I have difficulty with the fact that many my fellow Americans don't have a problem with giving the government the power to put someone in prison for nine years for something like spamming. One year ok, two years maybe, but nine years?

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280498)

The appeal definitely won't go anywhere.

Meanwhile my snail-mail box will continue to overflow with junk mail everyday? Something is amiss.

On another note, it's worrying that many of my fellow Americans have no problems with someone being put in prison for nine years for something like spamming. One year ok, two years maybe, but nine years?

I worry that we are becoming a very punitive people for thing that really aren't that big of a deal.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (3, Interesting)

arbitraryaardvark (845916) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279822)

Does the first amendment apply in this case? The man is sending mail from overseas servers that have no intent other than selling something. I know that the first amendment doesn't cover dangerous communication, or communication about illegal acts, but does it cover bad, mass advertising that costs the end user money and that they can't really opt out of?

The first amendment doesn't cover theft of resources, scamming, lies, shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre, etc.
The "theft of resources" was already dealt with by people who successfully sued for junk faxes. The first amendment doesn't apply.
The scamming and lies are covered by various legislation that requires truth in advertising.
The "shouting fire" was decided LONG ago ...


The first amendment does cover ads. see discussion below of central hudson, see also 44 liquormart.
But this case isn't about ads. The first amendment covers lots of dangerous speech, lots of communication about illegal activities, lots of bad ads.
This is a case about whether the statute he was charged under is constitutional. If it's not, it's void and isn't law, and he can't be kept in jail under it, no matter how much we don't like the guy.
The shouting fire case was indeed decided long ago, 1919, schenck v united states. Schenck was put in jail for passing out pamphlets claiming that the draft was unconstitutional under the 13th Amendment. Personally, I think he was right.
The case was overruled in 1968 or 69 in Brandenburg. The reason Schenck is still the first case taught in First Amendment classes is that it was wrong.
Sometimes the theater really is on fire.
It's hard to write a statute that does what you want but stays within the first amendment.
It's easy to write a statute that bans spam, but also accidentally bans slashdot.
- arbitrary aardvark

not that it relates at all to the discussion (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279856)

But I've always thought the shouting fire in a theatre was a really poor example...

I wrote about it on my blog here [wordpress.com] (so I wont repeat myself), but there are some insightful comments that re-state my opinion better than I did originally.

In short, I wish people would use another example.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279496)

The guys suggesting this is covered under 1st amendment should be sentenced to hearing a guy yell in their ear after every 2 minutes. It is allowed to use cotton.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279764)

Why do you want the First Amendment to protect spammers? And who in their right mind modded you up! There are obvious restrictions to free speech like when it actually causes real harm. If sending unsolicited faxes is illegal then so should spamming be illegal. It's pretty basic for anyone to understand.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (2, Insightful)

plantman-the-womb-st (776722) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280002)

No one has ever said that being free to say something means that you shouldn't be held to account if what you said caused damage.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (2, Insightful)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279766)

You're right, it does. I'll be over later to spray-paint a message on the side of your house.

See, the first amendment says that the government can't limit my speech. As a private property owner, however, you *can* limit my speech inasmuch as you have to pay for the forum. I'm free to buy my own house and spray-paint the side of it. But when I decide that someone else should foot the bill, that's not a free-speech issue.

Spammers cost other people millions of dollars, in aggregate. The only companies that any one spammer costs a bunch of money are the large AOL/Google/Hotmail/Yahoo types. However, they still cost everybody. People who own and operate mail servers should not have to pay for spam delivery, yet they do.

I'm mystified as to why a court would think the first amendment means that someone should have to pay for someone else's speech.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280022)

Don't be mystified, most rights are creepily being transformed into "positive rights", i.e. individual freedom is replaced by collective slavery where everyone owes everyone.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

plantman-the-womb-st (776722) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280068)

You're right, it does. I'll be over later to spray-paint a message on the side of your house.
You can, that's the beauty of freedom, you are free to choose to do this. You are then also free to waive your right to a jury trial when you are charged with vandalism. You are then free to appeal. I'm free to sue you for damages on top of that.

Being free to do something doesn't mean there are no consequences, it simply means you can choose to do something.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279370)

I guess we'll find out soon enough, won't we. Either the Virginia Supreme Court will decide, and the US Supreme Court will decline to take the case, or the US Supreme Court will decide. Then we'll know, I guess. I wouldn't think the use of overseas servers would make any difference, though, if the communications originated from a US citizen, I would imagine the 1st amendment would apply.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279720)

The first amendment, and indeed the entire Constitution, should apply to all citizens appearing before a US court.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280126)

The first amendment, and indeed the entire Constitution, should apply to all citizens appearing before a US court.
Actually, it applies to all people on US territory, not just citizens.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280180)

Yeah, the word "citizens" slipped in there accidentally :( I meant people.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279410)

I would think that the first amendment definitely covers advertisements. If we decide the first amendment covers all speech except for the speech we find annoying, it isn't very useful.

However, in the case of spam, the spammer is forcing the recipient to pay for his speech without consent. That is why spam should be illegal, not because it's trying to sell something.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (2, Insightful)

theoneandonlyed (1136797) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279524)

That's exactly it. No one is questioning the spammer's right to say something, or to sell his product. He can sell it on the streetcorner, in a shop, wherever. He can advertise it on TV, on billboards, on the Internet. What is, or should be, illegal, is sending it to the private e-mail accounts of people who don't want it, at the expense of their service providers. If that action is covered by free speech, then I should be able to throw a brick through your front window, step inside, and start hawking my wares to your family during your dinner hour. "Hey, just exercising my right to free speech!" The disturbing thing here is that any U.S. court would even entertain such a patently ridiculous argument.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (5, Informative)

frankie (91710) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279780)

"Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit.
"We therefore categorically reject the argument that a vendor has a right under the Constitution or otherwise to send unwanted material into the home of another. If this prohibition operates to impede the flow of even valid ideas, the answer is that no one has a right to press even 'good' ideas on an unwilling recipient. That we are often 'captives' outside the sanctuary of the home and subject to objectionable speech and other sound does not mean we must be captives everywhere. The asserted right of a mailer, we repeat, stops at the outer boundary of every person's domain."
- Chief Justice Warren Burger, US Supreme Court, Rowan v US Post Office

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279926)

I don't see that as relevant because nothing compels you to open spam either. You can set up filters to automatically remove it, unlike postal mail. However, also unlike postal mail, even if the spam is caught and removed by your spam filter, you have still incurred some cost by the time it gets that far. The spammer has used your bandwidth and your CPU cycles, even if you never see the message.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279970)

Mod parent up.

It would appear it has already been adequately covered by the SCOTUS, and the Virginia court is wasting everyone's time and money with yet another hearing.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279930)

If we decide the first amendment covers all speech except for the speech we find annoying, it isn't very useful.
Well, it would let all those hot stupid girls just be pretty and not turn you off by their pure lack of intellect.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (2, Insightful)

Grokmoo (1180039) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279426)

It seems strange to me that so many people on slashdot (and more generally on the internet at large) seem so gung ho free speech, yet at the same time are ready to burn spammers at the stake.

I am sorry for your inconvenience, but I think free speech is a little bit more important than that.

There is no such thing as Free Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279462)

If there was, then libel and slander would not be a problem. Freedom has to be married with control. If you lose one, you lose the other. So a balance must be made. It's not free speech, but a level of free speech. Just where that level lays is where the justices have to decide.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279514)

"Free" Speech doesn't mean you don't have to pay for the newspaper space - or the postage stamps - or the broadcast time.

Free Speech means you won't get locked up for standing in the park talking to anyone who will listen.

Please try to understand the difference.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (2, Informative)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279598)

Spammers can advertise all they want, I have no problem with that. Nowhere in the first amendment does it say that the citizens of this country have to pay for a megaphone for every crackpot that has something to say.
Even aside from the monetary argument, someone else's right to free speech does not mean that I am required to listen, only that I don't have the right to gag him. No one has the right to come to my home , stand on my doorstep and shout out their opinions. Instead, they can feel free to shout their opinions in a public forum and I will come listen if I feel like it. The electronic equivalent to this is that the spammer has a website which I can visit if I choose. He can even pay to advertise it on other websites I might visit. If he wants to advertise it in my e-mail, that is fine as well, but he needs to pay me for that privilege.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (-1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279786)

The mailman is just as much a spammer when he delivers junkmail. Do you charge him for using your mailbox ?

Spam is annoying, but really what are your costs ? .. your time to delete the email ? .. I think spam makes a piss poor sales tool because any possible sales are usually lost in annoyance.. Just as when I receive phone sales calls.. even if I need the service they are selling, I will be too pissed off to buy it.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279942)

Bandwidth is expensive. Yes, I know you probably pay a flat rate for cable service or whatever, but the ISP is paying based on how much gets sent and received; if everyone's bandwidth use goes up, the expense will be passed on to YOU. If we could reduce the amount of spam going around, who knows, maybe it would be even cheaper to get Internet access.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

keithius (804090) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279976)

The mailman is just as much a spammer when he delivers junkmail. Do you charge him for using your mailbox ?

The mailman is just the middleman - like your ISP who delivers your mail to you. They didn't send it, the spammer did. Don't shoot the messenger, and all that.

To re-phrase your question: Junk mailers are just as much a spammer when they send you junk mail. Do you charge them for using your mailbox?

Yes. Well, actually the US Postal Service does. The point is, the spammer pays someone to send you junk mail. And that is enough of a deterrent to keep every spam-brained nutcase from sending everyone in the entire country 622 V1AG-RA offers every single day.

With email, the spammer pays (basically) nothing. YOU - the recipient, or your e-mail hosting provider, pay for the bulk of it - for the bandwidth, the disk space, and the time & effort to sort through the sheer volume of it.

Remember: spam wouldn't be such a problem if there weren't so damn much of it! (I know I'd be thrilled if I only got as much spam as I did snail-mail junk mail.)

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

Spellvexit (1039042) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279998)

But the company directly paid for junk mail to be delivered to your door, and you can also typically call said company to tell them to buzz off, though I'm aware there are plenty of counter-examples of companies ignoring consumers' requests for removal. However, they are mostly accountable for their acts and they've actually paid for the mailman to deliver the information. The cost to the spammer for delivering more of their spam typically rises in proportion to the amount they want to deliver, as well.

The servers, networks, and end-users who deal with this are the parties who pay in the case of a spammer. Many spammers simply utilize botnets, meaning they don't even pay to run their own machines, completely freeloading off the network. The cost to deliver more spams is usually neglible to the spammer while increasingly burdensome to the network unwillingly supporting it. There's a significant difference between the activities of a spammer and that of physical junk mailer, even if I find both of them annoying!

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279702)

It's not even a little bit strange. You don't find many here that support false advertising, not slightly misleading or mistaken either, but full on fraudulent adverts for items. Nor do you find many people here that think that a person has a right to an audience. If nobody wants to here what it is that you have to say there is no right to force them to listen.

And likewise in this case, you're combining those things to make something which is ultra offensive to many. You're using other people's resources to falsely advertise products and forcing your way into people's mailboxes without any way of opting out.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (1)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279712)

This isn't a free speech issue, regardless of how spammers and their lawyers like to spin it. It is an issue of public nuisance. If Mr. Jaynes sat there and typed in each email address and sent it off individually there would be no district attorney in the US would charge him.

He has the right to advertise his products, as annoying as you or I might find it. However he doesn't have the right to impair our ability to communicate freely and burden us with the cost of his advertisement anymore than he could blast his advertisements at 250 decibels down the streets in the middle of the night.

Society has plenty of laws 'restricting' free speech to prevent unreasonable harm and interference with others. Noise control laws, parade permitting, and anti-spam laws all have their place and are perfectly constitutional.

Re:First Amendment covers ads? (3, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279776)

Free speech generally applies to public forums and areas. My inbox is not a public forum or area, no matter how much the NSA might wish that it were.

Doesn't matter if it's ads. (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279466)

This isn't a first amendment issue, it's a property rights issue. The spammer's got a right to say whatever he wants to say, but that right doesn't include a right to use other people's property to do so.

Basically, he got sent up the river for a hell of a lot of instances of extremely petty theft, which is as it should be. Let the fucker rot.

-jcr

MOD PARENT UP (1)

jdunn14 (455930) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279552)

I wish I had mod points right now. The point is not free speech. It is the use of other people's resources. You are allowed to say whatever you want on the town square, but the tax payers don't have to buy you a megaphone.

too bad it doesn't apply to Congressmen (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280216)

I am so sick and tired of them being allowed to send me e-mails just because of their position.

Was nice of them to give themselves exceptions to most related laws.

Re:Doesn't matter if it's ads. (4, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280220)

I wouldn't mind getting spam if every piece of it came from a company's own servers and with a legitimate return address. But when spammers a) steal resources (via botnets and trojaned machines) to send their mail and then b) they forge the From: header so you can't possibly respond, I think it's pretty clear from part B that they know that what they're doing--part A--is wrong.

Note that I said I wouldn't *mind* spam in these conditions. I'd be even happier to receive no ads, period, but as long as they have to pay their own way and not hide their identity then I figure it's not AS bad as what they do now. I *would* accept an inbox full of junk mail if it meant that acres of trees didn't have to die to keep my physical mailbox full of junk. I don't disagree with people who say "you have no right to be in my inbox, period"--I just don't personally feel as strongly. Marketing assholes will be marketing assholes until they're all exterminated; so we may as well give them a less-wasteful outlet for their bullshit. :-)

Re:Doesn't matter if it's ads. (1)

borkus (179118) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280224)

Exactly. Freedom of speech allows me to print a pamphlet on some cause of my choosing. I can hand my pamphlet out to people or go door to door. However, the first amendment does not allow me to break other laws in distributing them. I cannot break into your house to give you pamphlets. Nor can I just leave a pile on a ground to become litter.

Re:Doesn't matter if it's ads. (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280392)

Whether it's a First Amendment issue is actually a good question, but IMO it isn't really all that hard to distinguish whether that applies:

Someone sending spam *entirely* with their own equipment (NOT using botnets, hacked servers, open relays, etc.) is within their rights. They may be a PITA but so are streetcorner preachers hollering over the town square -- the venue is different but the effect is the same: annoying, but still "free speech", as free to the spammer or preacher as it is to everyone else. However, anyone else is also within their rights to block said spam, much as the streetcorner preacher can't prevent you from wearing earplugs.

However, the moment the spammer illicitly uses someone else's equipment, they are in the wrong and First Amendment protection no longer applies, since they commited variously computer-trespass and/or theft of services. Likewise, the streetcorner preacher is not allowed to co-opt your front porch and use it to harangue passersby.

Re:Doesn't matter if it's ads. (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280458)

The downside (for the spammer) is that the moment they move to their own equipment, filtering them becomes infinitely simpler.

Who decides what's "dangerous" (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279490)

"I know that the first amendment doesn't cover dangerous communication, or communication about illegal acts"

Who decides what is "dangerous"?

I suppose hardliners like oreilly would call any communication by "liberaldemocrats"(one word) or "dirty towel heads" dangerous.

The RIAA and MPAA call any sharing or participation in culture dangerous.

As for communication about illegal activities.. I guess that joke I made in my guild chat about pipe bombs recently qualifies me for 24 hour wiretapping, arrest, and a couple years in gitmo.

Face it, the rulings revoking the first amendment for "dangerous communication" or "communication about illegal acts" have revoked the first amendment period

Re:Who decides what's "dangerous" (1)

SparkleMotion88 (1013083) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279662)

I totally agree with this. Once there is a chink in the armor of the first amendment, then that weakness can be exploited to restrict any sort of expression. Personally, I think all expression should be protected, including slander, false advertising, and incitement. We shouldn't have laws that restrict our freedom just because people will believe everything that they hear. Maybe if we didn't have these sorts of laws, then people would be a little more critical about what they choose to believe.

The First Amendment doesn't cover ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279500)

The SCUSA has ruled in the past that commercial speech is not covered by the First Amendment. If he was selling something, he's screwed.

Linux is a pile of shit anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279544)

Why go to court over that in the first place? Bottom feeders...

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279308)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
 
friday is goatse day [goatse.ch]

Re:SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279384)

Come on guys, you are abridging the previous AC's freedom of speech by modding him Troll! Who cares if what he is doing has a direct, negative effect on the people who use this service! His rights to free speech are more important than your rights!

Re:SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (1)

Utini420 (444935) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279554)

Actually, it is.

I hate SPAM as much as anyone else. And I would love to see some actual laws in place to cover malware of various types. But how does one define SPAM, in a hard-core, definitive way? Sure, we all know it when we see it, and this guy is clearly beyond the pale. But any law sufficient to nail him could and would also be used on other, less clear-cut cases.

File it under defending the nazi's right to be assholes, but it really doesn't matter how much you don't want his spam. I'm not sure what direct, negative effect you are referring to, unless its the totally-not-worth-my-caring cost of transmitting or storing email. He's got a right to it, and taking his right away lessens that right for everyone.

With as many chips as our constitutional rights have endured lately, I'm inclined to defend the 1st amendment even more staunchly than usual.

Re:SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279892)

It's not that hard to define. We could have effective legislation and largely ignore authorization.

Emails that use forged information are not that difficult to identify, and sanctioning individuals and businesses that do it would have no effect on genuine exercises of free speech.

Emails that lack a meaningful way of opting out, disregard instructions to drop the address or mislead the reader about who sent it and why, are likewise not protected free speech.

It's just not as nebulous as a lot of people would have you believe. If they honor opt out requests that would be enough to make a serious dent in the problem. Without other measures. The problem is that spammers don't have a way of being contacted and don't respect the wishes of the people that are receiving the messages.

That doesn't sound even the slightest bit like a free speech issue. Your typical spammer breaks so many laws already, that to say that they's even a slight confusion with genuine free speech rights is disigenuous at best. It just wouldn't be hard to fix the problem otherwise.

Unintentional Humor??? (2, Interesting)

Kiralan (765796) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279456)

Does anyone else find it funny/ironic that the one of the sidebar 'Related Links' is to '* Compare prices on Spam Software' ??? K

Re:Unintentional Humor??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279574)

And it takes you to SourceForge.

Now, where are the Viagra and penis enlarger ads?

Re:Unintentional Humor??? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279710)

Great, you just opened the door for all the smug replies about how people haven't seen ads in years because of adblock plus. They'll probably close their eyes while they're typing it, too.

Re:Unintentional Humor??? (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279992)

"Oh, you run Adblock Plus? Good for youuuu!" *thumbs up*
*eyes closed* "Thaaaanks!"

You see what you did with your gay little browser?

I'm afraid Slashdot has disappeared completely... up its own asshole.

Two Words (1, Flamebait)

Noodles (39504) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279528)

Death Penalty

Re:Two Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23280380)

You can kill anyone you like. You're just too much of a pussy to get your hands dirty so you whine to the state. "Pretty please, kill your own citizens, they annoy me."

You're a piece of shit.

Re:Two Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23280440)

Absolutely. And instead of his parting communications with loved ones being the final content his mind enjoys, instead he should have to sit through forty-five minutes of his own spam messages, read to him, and on a widescreen, before lights out.

Headline not quite accurate (4, Informative)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279530)

Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Yesterday, however, the justices agreed to hear arguments on whether Jaynes could challenge the anti-spam law as unconstitutional in general, even if it was constitutionally applied to him." (Emphasis mine)

So that means that he gets to present arguments that would support his ability to appeal on constitutionality. Pretty circuitous.

Also, I think it's great. Spam is clearly theft of services, and the sooner that gets legally solidified, the sooner the dirtbag spammers will quit being able to whinge about free speech.

Re:Headline not quite accurate (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279936)

In the UK, if a person file and loses an appeal in which the State counter-claims that the original sentance was unduly lenient, the appeal court judges can increase the sentance. This is one of the very, very, very few cases in which such a law could be considered justified. Unfortunately, printing out a representative sample of his spam e-mails and making a paper mache coffin out of it to decorate his prison cell might run counter to the cruel and unusual punishment clause.

Re:Headline not quite accurate (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280426)

That is pretty strange. Since he's presenting arguments anyway, why not just let him present arguments that the law is unconstitutional? Cut out the middle step.

And I'm wondering, what kind of arguments can to disallow someone from appealing the constitutionality of a law? If the constitutionality of a law is in question, then disallowing someone from appealing leads to the possibility of someone being held unconstitutionally but having no recourse. On the other hand, if the constitutionality of a law is certain, why not let the guy argue and lose? As I said, you're hearing arguments anyway, so you're not wasting any time or resources.

Constitutional right to spam? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279538)

http://www.spammimic.com/decode.shtml [spammimic.com]

Dear Friend ; Thank-you for your interest in our publication
. If you no longer wish to receive our publications
simply reply with a Subject: of "REMOVE" and you will
immediately be removed from our club ! This mail is
being sent in compliance with Senate bill 1627 ; Title
3 ; Section 304 ! This is NOT unsolicited bulk mail
. Why work for somebody else when you can become rich
inside 85 days . Have you ever noticed nobody is getting
any younger & more people than ever are surfing the
web ! Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this
. WE will help YOU increase customer response by 140%
& deliver goods right to the customer's doorstep !
The best thing about our system is that it is absolutely
risk free for you . But don't believe us . Ms Ames
of Virginia tried us and says "I was skeptical but
it worked for me" ! We are a BBB member in good standing
. If not for you then for your LOVED ONES - act now
. Sign up a friend and you'll get a discount of 60%
. Cheers ! Dear Friend , You made the right decision
when you signed up for our mailing list . We will comply
with all removal requests . This mail is being sent
in compliance with Senate bill 1621 , Title 4 ; Section
307 . THIS IS NOT A GET RICH SCHEME ! Why work for
somebody else when you can become rich inside 60 weeks
! Have you ever noticed nobody is getting any younger
and nobody is getting any younger . Well, now is your
chance to capitalize on this ! WE will help YOU increase
customer response by 160% plus use credit cards on
your website . You are guaranteed to succeed because
we take all the risk . But don't believe us ! Mr Anderson
who resides in Maryland tried us and says "My only
problem now is where to park all my cars" . We are
licensed to operate in all states . If not for you
then for your loved ones - act now ! Sign up a friend
and you'll get a discount of 40% . Thank-you for your
serious consideration of our offer ! Dear Friend ,
Thank-you for your interest in our briefing . We will
comply with all removal requests . This mail is being
sent in compliance with Senate bill 1623 , Title 1
; Section 307 . Do NOT confuse us with Internet scam
artists . Why work for somebody else when you can become
rich within 23 days ! Have you ever noticed how long
the line-ups are at bank machines plus nobody is getting
any younger . Well, now is your chance to capitalize
on this . We will help you deliver goods right to the
customer's doorstep plus decrease perceived waiting
time by 150% ! The best thing about our system is that
it is absolutely risk free for you ! But don't believe
us . Mrs Simpson of Illinois tried us and says "Now
I'm rich, Rich, RICH" ! We are licensed to operate
in all states ! We IMPLORE you - act now ! Sign up
a friend and your friend will be rich too . Thanks
.

First Amendment isn't relevant (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279556)

The First Amendment isn't relevant to this case and bringing it up is just an attempt to draw attention away from the facts. Jeremy Jaynes used mailing lists he'd stolen from AOL, eBay and other places for his spamming. The First Amendment doesn't give you the right to shout "FIRE!" in a crowded theater and it doesn't give you the right to use stolen addresses to direct your advertisements.

The law seems fine to me (3, Insightful)

SparkleMotion88 (1013083) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279560)

I don't think the law [spamlaws.com] infringes on anybody's right to expression. The law is only related to falsifying e-mail transmission info. So if the guy bought a domain name and set up a smtp server and spammed from his domain and his server using a connection that he pays for, he wouldn't be breaking the law. It is reasonable to have laws like this to protect the defrauded service providers who were essentially duped into sending this guy's spam.

Re:The law seems fine to me (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280060)

The law is only related to falsifying e-mail transmission info. So if the guy bought a domain name and set up a smtp server and spammed from his domain and his server using a connection that he pays for, he wouldn't be breaking the law.
Part of free speech is the right to adopt a pseudonym and 'publish' anonymously.

He could argue that abridging the right to publish anonymously is unconstitutional, even if the law itself was applied in a legal manner.

Re:The law seems fine to me (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280476)

And he might be correct -- so long as he only uses his OWN equipment and a legitimate internet connection which he has lawful permission to use (even if that's an anonymous, open-to-all site like a public library). But the moment he *steals* someone else's bandwidth or CPU cycles, he should lose that protection.

BTW I've received anonymous spam that promoted unpopular political viewpoints; imagine if this were, say, China and such spam might be your only way of learning about western democracy.

Commercial Speech (4, Informative)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279578)

According to http://www.lawpublish.com/amend1.html [lawpublish.com], commercial speech is protected by the 1st amendment, but to a lesser degree than non-commercial speech:

"In Central Hudson, the Supreme Court set out the important four-part test for assessing government restrictions on commercial speech:

'[First] . . . [the commercial speech] at least must concern lawful activity and not be misleading. Next, we ask whether the asserted governmental interest is substantial. If both inquiries yield positive answers, we must determine whether the regulation directly advances the governmental interest asserted, and whether it is not more extensive than is necessary to serve that interest.'"

Almost all spammers will fail the first test, including the waste of skin from the article. There is no such thing as a legitimate spammer.

Re:Commercial Speech (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280140)

Ok, let's see if you're right.

  • must concern lawful activity: A lot of the "products" advertised don't exist. I would consider this unlawful, but then I see everything else advertised on TV, radio, billboards, McDonald's windows...
  • and not be misleading: See above, and add in any movie trailer that uses the words "exciting", "dramatic" or "thrilling".

By this standard, virtually all commercial speech should be prohibited. Admittedly, this might lead to a gigantic leap in the quality of products and services, a massive reclamation of land, bandwidth and other resources, and the undoing of years of brainwashing. The inprisonment of the entire advertising sector would also slash pollution levels, accelerate web speeds by three orders of magnitude, and be directly responsible for bringing civilization to whole new heights of wisdom and enlightenment.

Spam/advertizing should NOT be protected by th 1st (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279606)

So, Jayne wants the ability to invade my privacy/space to make money protected? What about my rights to not be invaded with this.

I don't see this as any different than him having the ability to legally breaking into my property to hand me an advert. According to his thinking, I don't have to read the advert, but he has a right to force his way into my property to give me the advert while trying to disguise himself, and lying about who/what he is to get past any defenses.

Shouldn't I have to invite him in?

*ding dong*
Me: 'who is it?'
Jayne: 'Avon"
Me: 'Who?"
Jayne: "Telegram"
Me: "WTF? Who did you say?"
Jayne: "Uhm...Land Shark?" (my apologies to SNL)

In my ideal world, the judge would just say: "Bailiff, take this scumbag out by the dumpster, kneecap him, gut shoot him, then feed him his own testicles... RIGHT NOW!"

Re:Spam/advertizing should NOT be protected by th (1)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279806)

In my ideal world, the judge would just say: "Bailiff, take this scumbag out by the dumpster, kneecap him, gut shoot him, then feed him his own testicles... RIGHT NOW!"
To be fair though, this is the same ideal world which got a "does not play well with others" on its second grade report card.

First Amendment? (2, Interesting)

LocutusMIT (10726) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279636)

Let's see. Hundreds of emails each day, with no way to make them stop? Sounds an awful lot like harassment. I don't think the First Amendment covers that.


Perhaps he should be tried for several hundred thousand counts of harassment if he's successful here.

Re:First Amendment? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280218)

That's what I was wondering, too. Maybe you need to ask them to stop in order for it to be considered harassment. Can one get financial compensation from a harassment lawsuit?

You know whos being left out here (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279686)

The poor folks selling P3n1s enlargements. I mean, how are these poor folks going to get by without JJ to send SPAMmy goodness to all of us? Please, wont someone think of the discount V14gr4 suppliers! Their children, they will starve!

Hong Kong on business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23279814)

The lawyer claimed he was coming back to the US from a business trip to Hong Kong. Assuming this lawyer has other scamming scumbags for clients, you have to wonder if the prostitutes were females capable of consent.

Re:Hong Kong on business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23280098)

Assuming this lawyer has other scamming scumbags for clients, you have to wonder if the prostitutes were females capable of consent.
Most likely not. Lawyers (and politicians) are notorious for being paedophile child abusers.

His First Amendment rights end... (1)

pyrr (1170465) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279836)

...where my SMTP server and email accounts begin. The Do Not Call registry, as well as the laws banning unsolicited faxes and telemarketing calls to mobile phones also operate on this principle.

On a related note, I wish those principles applied to my snail mailbox, I'm tired of dealing with all the junk mail. I'm about ready to go truly paperless and just take the darn thing down, because the postal service is only concerned about the money they make from bulk mailers and not whether I want that trash, which I have to dispose of. It takes far more effort and potential expense to deal with trash mail than spam, even. It's of course the USPS' choice, since they own the system and think it's fine and dandy. I treat it the same way, though, I don't even CONSIDER unsolicited commercial mail from anyone, it goes right into the trash. I don't even open them to sort out recyclable content.

Re:His First Amendment rights end... (2, Informative)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280114)

...where my SMTP server and email accounts begin. The Do Not Call registry, as well as the laws banning unsolicited faxes and telemarketing calls to mobile phones also operate on this principle.

That's the key - snail mail senders are paying the cost of sending the email; here you are covering its cost.

On a related note, I wish those principles applied to my snail mailbox, I'm tired of dealing with all the junk mail. I'm about ready to go truly paperless and just take the darn thing down, because the postal service is only concerned about the money they make from bulk mailers and not whether I want that trash, which I have to dispose of. It takes far more effort and potential expense to deal with trash mail than spam, even. It's of course the USPS' choice, since they own the system and think it's fine and dandy. I treat it the same way, though, I don't even CONSIDER unsolicited commercial mail from anyone, it goes right into the trash. I don't even open them to sort out recyclable content.

The USPS has a form - 1500 Application for Listing and / or Prohibitory Order - that allows you to stop being sent pornographic material. You need to fill it out for each sender; what is explicit or pornographic is your call. So, if you find coupon mailers pornographic or explicit, well, to each his own.

Wait . . . let me save the state a pile of cash. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279894)

Anybody got a round-trip air ticket and a decent rifle I can borrow for a few days . . . ?

I'm getting tired of ads from Canadian Pharmacy, Nigerians with millions of quasi-illegal dollars to smuggle out of the country and "get rich now" offers (although I'm glad Debbie is still waiting for me).

1980? (1)

ittybad (896498) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279898)

This same issue was at hand with the fax machine. What it comes down to is simple: Do they have a right to attempt attracting customers? Yes. Do potential customers have the right to not be targeted? Yes. I believe the ruling has already been made: they can send it as long as you can request to not receive it. If they fail to provide a way by which you no longer receive their spam, then they are violating your rights.

  Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spammity Spam!

Wow, nine years? (1)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279922)

I hate spamming as much as anyone, but nine years for sending Viagra advertisements? Child molesters and bank robbers sometimes get less than that.

Re:Wow, nine years? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280370)

As long as they don't let any pot smokers out to make room for this spammer, we're safe.

Missing link from story as submitted (2, Informative)

arbitraryaardvark (845916) | more than 5 years ago | (#23279956)

In editing the submission, scuttlemonkey took out the link to TFA. [law.com]
Howard wrote:
"Va. Supreme Court to revisit divisive spam case; It upheld convictions but will consider constitutional issue": The Richmond Times-Dispatch today contains an article that begins, "The Supreme Court of Virginia yesterday agreed to a limited rehearing of its closely divided decision upholding the first felony spam convictions in the country."
My earlier coverage of the Supreme Court of Virginia's original 4-3 ruling in this case, issued February 29, 2008, appears here and here.
Yesterday's order granting rehearing on specified issues can be accessed at this link.
Posted at 08:04 PM by Howard Bashman


Re:Missing link from story as submitted (1)

arbitraryaardvark (845916) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280050)

TFA that was omitted had a link to the court's order. Reading the court's order, it turns out that they aren't yet at the stage of giving him a new hearing - they are having a legal argument about whether or not he gets to have a new hearing.
Standing briefs tend to be a bit dry for non-lawyers.
If he wins this round, he can go on to try to win the next round, that the statute is unconstitutional and can't be applied to anyone, even him.

Jeremy Jaynes, Appellant,
against Record No. 062388
Court of Appeals No. 1054-05-4
Commonwealth of Virginia, Appellee.
Upon A Petition For Rehearing
The Court grants the Petition for Rehearing filed by the Appellant limited, however, to the following issues:
1. In the context of a claim brought in a state court challenging a state statute under the First Amendment overbreadth doctrine, are state courts required to apply the same standing requirements as to that claimant that the claimant would be accorded in a federal court considering a similar First Amendment overbreadth claim?
2. Assuming, arguendo, that the first question is answered in the affirmative, has the Appellant (a) waived the argument presented in the Petition for Rehearing at pages 1 through 5 as not made in Appellantâ(TM)s briefs or on oral argument; and (b) is appellate consideration of the issue barred because Appellant approbated and reprobated (e.g., did Appellant agree in prior proceedings in this case that a state court may establish its own standing requirements but in its petition for rehearing contend that a state court must, at a minimum, apply federal standing requirements)?
3. Assuming, arguendo, that the first question is answered in the negative and a state court is not required to accord equivalent standing, as in a federal court, in a First Amendment overbreadth challenge to a Virginia statute involving commercial speech, what is the precedential effect of Wayside Restaurant, Inc. v. City of Virginia Beach, 215 Va. 231, 208 S.E.2d 51 (1974)?

A Better Solution (2, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280028)

Never mind courts and jail and all that crap. Can't we just beat the son-of-a-bitch to death with our G1ANT PEEN1SES?

technical/social problem (1)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280152)

The spam problem has two parts: 1) The protocols are flawed, and 2) Everyone uses those protocols. The first one is a technical problem and needs a technical solution. The second one is a social problem, and is where government intervention belongs.

...but engineers don't believe #2 will ever be solved, so instead of working on problem #1, they write filters and technical solutions to address problem #2 themselves. And the gov't has no clue that there are technical solutions to #1, so instead of doing anything about problem #2, it uses its powers to try to solve #1 itself by making it a crime to compute in certain ways. What a mess! Couldn't everyone please just attack the problems they are qualified to solve?

Re:technical/social problem (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280334)

> The second one is a social problem, and is where
> government intervention belongs.

Oh, please, lets not add more government.

If you offer a GOOD email protocol which solves the major problems with SMTP, and put up a few demonstration servers and give the code away free (like sendmail, qmail, postfix etc) it would take off by itself, with no need of government intervention.

Witness any number of today's wildly popular protocols, web applications, chat clients, Voip clients. No government needed.

Someday the "Skype of Email" will show up and simply take over as people adopt it in droves.

Its not done because its HARD to do.

Jail time for irritation (0, Troll)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280168)

You haven't really hurt anyone or anything, you just irritate people, so we're locking you in a jail cell for half a childhood.

I can see if he's selling drugs or illegal shit or stock pumping; but to have a law against "spam" raises questions like "what retard thought this was a good idea?"

Re:Jail time for irritation (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280234)

You haven't really hurt anyone or anything, you just irritate people, so we're locking you in a jail cell for half a childhood.
He's not a child, so don't play the thinkofthechildren card. If you wish to discuss this further, please post your email address in response to this post.

Re:Jail time for irritation (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280284)

Irritation?

You are aware, are you not, that somewhere between 80 and 95% of all mail is spam, and spam takes way more servers and bandwidth than ALL other uses of the internet combined?

You pay for that, I pay for that. It costs ME money. Some users pay bandwidth by the byte. It costs them even more.

What would your connection cost if spam was once and for all eliminated? What could you ISP save in bandwidth and servers, and pass on to you in lower fees?

Its not JUST an irritation, its theft of services.

Nice try sneaking in that "childhood" analogy.

Re:Jail time for irritation (1)

borkus (179118) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280330)

Actually, he stole many of the e-mail addresses he used. That got him four felony charges, each with 1-5 years in jail. The 9 year sentence was what he got from the jury. The prosecutor asked for 15. Technically, he got off easy. IANAL, but I think if he had decent representation, he would have avoided a jury trial and either plead guilty one count or would have gotten a reduced sentence on each charge. I'm generally not a supporter of long prison sentences; however, this one doesn't bother me really.

Its constitutional (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23280178)

The first amendment only guarantees that you can speak, not that you can be heard ( especially at the expense of others )
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...