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Jack Thompson Spams Utah Senate, May Face Legal Action

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the get-some-popcorn dept.

The Courts 319

eldavojohn writes "Yesterday, GamePolitics ran an interesting story about the Utah Senate President threatening Jack Thompson with the CAN-SPAM Act. You might recall Utah being Jack's last hope and hold-out after being disbarred in Florida and more or less made a mockery everywhere else. Well, from Utah's Senate Site, we get the picture of what Jack is up to now: spamming his last friends on the planet. The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting on Senate President Michael Waddoups' statements: 'I asked you before to remove me from your mailing list. I supported your bill but because of the harassment will not again. If I am not removed, I will turn you over to the AG for legal action.' The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Waddoups confirmed on Tuesday that he would attempt to pursue legal action under the federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 against Jack Thompson."

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319 comments

Finally (2, Interesting)

thefear (1011449) | about 5 years ago | (#27585847)

Will a spammer finally be prosecuted? It seems to me like a lot of these spam suites just don't stick

Re:Finally (1)

wojtalsd (1005693) | about 5 years ago | (#27585869)

Hoping so, Since this is pretty much his last stand and it failed, it would be a relieve to never hear his name again.

Re:Finally (4, Interesting)

fictionpuss (1136565) | about 5 years ago | (#27585929)

You know, not *everything* written about Jack Thompson is true. A while back I went to the trouble of tracking down his email address to quiz him over some outrageous comment.

I was somewhat surprised, but more disappointed to receive a civil and level-headed response.

Re:Finally (5, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#27586783)

I do assume that a court record describes things that actually happened and you should try reading the record of his disbarrment trial.

Re:Finally (1)

zoips (576749) | about 5 years ago | (#27586795)

And I wrote him an email asking a few questions and he responded by calling me sweety and ranting off-topic. What's your point?

Re:Finally (5, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 5 years ago | (#27586879)

This guy isn't a spammer in the typical sense. He's a hack 'lawyer' that's been permanently disbarred in Florida for false statements, disparaging remarks, and humiliating litigants.

He's tried to get music banned due to explicit content, violent video games banned because they incite violence, video games declared as pornography, etc., etc., etc. You know they type. More concerned about everyone else's business rather than minding his own.

He's essentially wants to ensure that everyone else lives to his own moral standards regardless of their beliefs or how they want to raise their children.

He's just a big born-again right wing religious wack job for lack of a better term. This latest spam suit is just his latest 'label' among many.

Low lifes (5, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 5 years ago | (#27585867)

Is there any lower life form than a spammer?

We used to think that Thompson was lower than a spammer, but we're not so sure nowadays...

Re:Low lifes (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#27585879)

Is there any lower life form than a spammer?

Rapists, murders and Yankees fans all come to mind ;)

Re:Low lifes (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586033)

Red Wings, Canucks, and Seminoles fans also come to mind.

Re:Low lifes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586175)

Pittsburgh fans. Oh wait, you already said rapists and murderers...

Re:Low lifes (1, Troll)

BigDork1001 (683341) | about 5 years ago | (#27586585)

You made a mistake... Yankees fans should be first on that list.

Mets are by far the better NY team. B-Mets home-opener day is tomorrow! Too bad I'm not in Bingo to go cheer them on.

Re:Low lifes (4, Funny)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | about 5 years ago | (#27585903)

I think the problem is that not only is this guy Jack Thompson, but he is also a spammer. That is akin to a division by zero or adding multiple infinities - the human mind simply cannot comprehend that level of low.

Re:Low lifes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586607)

Is there any lower life form than a spammer?

A European?

*ducks*

So, what was it? (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#27585889)

Did he manage to spam them with anything interesting? I figure that, if this guy can somehow think that putting porn in a court filing is a good idea, anything is possible when he gets on the internet.

Re:So, what was it? (5, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | about 5 years ago | (#27586469)

These tactics remind me of a trick on how to check out other girls with your significant other present: feigned outrage.

"Wow look at her shes wearing almost nothing at all. Will you look at that top? You can almost see right down her shirt. And look at those pants! They are so tight they show everything. Disgusting isn't it?"

The simple fact is, if you don't like something, the natural human tendency is to stop looking at it.

Meanwhile this guy has played enough GTA to find the lap dance clip and went browsing through the adult section of a gay website to find a picture to include in his legal filings?

Only in Utah (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | about 5 years ago | (#27585897)

A guy sends out spam with images of scantily-clad women -- and THIS, not his Quixotic crusade against everything that offends him, is a reason for using the Can-SPAM act against him?

Jack Thompson actually went up a notch in my estimation, now that I've heard he's sending out pr0n emails. (His approval rating in my book is now at 1%. Way to go, Jack!!)

...but yeah, sic 'im, guys. About bloody time.

It's guys like him who give lawyers a bad name (5, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | about 5 years ago | (#27585901)

Per subject: it's guys like Jack Thompson who give lawyers a bad name.

He has lost his mission, he has lost his friends, and what does he do---piss away the last he had.

Truly this is the time to quote Leia: the more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers.

Soon, all Jack will have left is an empty clenched fist, which he will be free to wave at anyone passing by his soap box.

May it be put on a deserted island.

Now, let's all play a game with tits and guns! :D

Re:It's guys like him who give lawyers a bad name (4, Funny)

Bieeanda (961632) | about 5 years ago | (#27586325)

If he's sending suggestive e-mails, then he's probably going to end up with one thing in his clenched fist...

Re:It's guys like him who give lawyers a bad name (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 5 years ago | (#27586339)

Soon, all Jack will have left is an empty clenched fist, which he will be free to wave at anyone passing by his refrigerator box.

Just wishful thinking on my part...

Re:It's guys like him who give lawyers a bad name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586587)

Now, let's all play a game with tits and guns! :D

How about guns and naked zombie butts? I love left 4 dead.

Re:It's guys like him who give lawyers a bad name (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 5 years ago | (#27586719)

No it's not. Jack Thompson is clearly insane. It's the rational and ruthless lawyers that give lawyers a bad name. It's guys like this [wikipedia.org] who give lawyers a bad name.

Please don't make this mistake again ... (4, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 5 years ago | (#27586727)

"Truly this is the time to quote Leia: ..."

Truly, there is never a time to quote Leia. Not even on Slashdot. Truly.

This is just more proof (5, Interesting)

Spazztastic (814296) | about 5 years ago | (#27585909)

This is just more proof that Jack Thompson, much like Steve Balmer, was put on this earth to be an infinite source of entertainment. As long as people like Jack try to attack violent video games and remove them from the shelves, they will never succeed. His tactics of idiocy and harassment don't seem to work.

I wonder if anybody has ever pointed him to /. and everybody who hates him...

Re:This is just more proof (1)

sheph (955019) | about 5 years ago | (#27586071)

I'm sure he spends all his time worying about what slashdot thinks about him (um, not). Gimme a break.

Re:This is just more proof (5, Informative)

Spazztastic (814296) | about 5 years ago | (#27586227)

I'm sure he spends all his time worying about what slashdot thinks about him (um, not). Gimme a break.

You'd be surprised. Often people who are such narcissists do care what the public thinks of them. He may have all of the bible thumpers rallying behind him, but the second that someone does say something poor about him or he doesn't get his way he does seem to react with malice [wikipedia.org].

He also sent a letter to Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick's attorney, addressed to Zelnick's mother, in which Thompson accused her son of "doing everything he possibly can to sell as many copies of GTA: IV to teen boys in the United States, a country in which your son claims you raised him to be a 'a Boy Scout'. ... More like the Hitler Youth, I would say."

Re:This is just more proof (5, Insightful)

stoned_hamster (1531291) | about 5 years ago | (#27586161)

I wonder if anybody has ever pointed him to /. and everybody who hates him...

I wonder. I recently passed some corner preachers who took a passage from the Bible and twisted it all out of context. I stopped and engaged them in a conversation, proving they were wrong in the context they had chosen. They got all flustered and declared me a (direct quote, mind you) "Spawn of Satan, send to this world to corrupt these people of God" and continued to shout out about what they had been preaching about.
Its people like this who believe that what they do and say is right and everyone who believes in different things that are a real problem to society.

Re:This is just more proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586489)

What a bizarre comparision. As much as you may hate him because of your personal issues, Steve Ballmer is one of the richest guys on the planet, therefore by most definitions is pretty successful. Jack Thompson is just a criminal who's not quite been caught yet.

Re:This is just more proof (3, Interesting)

Spazztastic (814296) | about 5 years ago | (#27586867)

What a bizarre comparision. As much as you may hate him because of your personal issues, Steve Ballmer is one of the richest guys on the planet, therefore by most definitions is pretty successful. Jack Thompson is just a criminal who's not quite been caught yet.

I compared them in a sense of their antics and how hilarious they are. Anything from Jack Thompson asking a judge to declare the Florida Bar unconstitutional [wikipedia.org] to Steve Ballmer throwing a chair and declaring he's going to "Fucking kill google." [wikipedia.org]

God Dammit! (5, Funny)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 5 years ago | (#27585913)

Why couldn't he have given us some warning before doing that?

Now we have to arrange for confetti and parade floats and marching bands all on short notice!

Does he have any idea how hard it is to get a 500ft Master Chief balloon in just a couple days?

How does this work? (2, Interesting)

digitig (1056110) | about 5 years ago | (#27585937)

I don't know the politics behind this -- am I correct in reading it as Waddoup being fine with everybody else being spammed, and only objecting when he discovered that he could get spammed too?

Re:How does this work? (3, Interesting)

orclevegam (940336) | about 5 years ago | (#27586323)

I read it more as most spam comes from random relays over in China which we can't really do anything about, but here is an instance where it's trivially easy to point out exactly who is sending the spam. It gets even easier from a prosecution standpoint because Jack is too simple (read boneheaded) to even consider trying to deny sending the e-mails, rather he's going to try to argue that the e-mails constitute protected speech under the first amendment (oh the irony), and just to dig himself a bit deeper start throwing allegations of corruption, bribery, and conspiracy at anyone who disagrees with him (as if the only way someone might not have exactly the same views as him is if they've been bought by some megacorp).

Jack Thompson is right: it's NOT spam. (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 years ago | (#27585945)

Spam is commercial email. This is email about a pending legislative action, and thus Jack Thompson has the right to send it because he has a right to free speech.

But all that means is that the CAN-SPAM act isn't the appropriate law to attack him with: instead, the Senator should just go for plain-old harassment.

Besides, there's nothing that says the Senator has to listen to him -- that's what filters are for! Let Jack Thompson write to /dev/null to his heart's content.

Re:Jack Thompson is right: it's NOT spam. (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#27586135)

IIRC CAN-SPAM (might as well just add some words to the name and call it the CAN-HAS-SPAM act, but whatever) makes specific exemptions for political advertisements and solicitations by nonprofits, but says nothing about whether the content is commercial or not.

Further, there is no reason why I or my ISP or any other email provider should have to bear the cost of accepting spam. That is pure crap, and arguably theft of services, though obviously IANAL — it might not hold up in court, but I think I can construct a fairly logical argument along those lines.

Re:Jack Thompson is right: it's NOT spam. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586249)

since when does "logic" have any place in the law?

Re:Jack Thompson is right: it's NOT spam. (5, Funny)

geobeck (924637) | about 5 years ago | (#27586813)

It's time to create a new term for the reasoning used by lawyers: lawgic. It's just like logic, except that... well, actually it's nothing like logic; that's why we need a special term.

You're a fucking moron. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586179)

Spam is commercial email.

No. Spam is unsolicited bulk email.

This *IS* spam.

This is email about a pending legislative action

I don't give a flying fuck what the content is - it's still spam.

Jack Thompson has the right to send it because he has a right to free speech.

What the fuck does "free speech" have to do with harrassment and theft of service?

If you think that ANYONE has the right to harrass and intimidate people, for any reason, you are a complete fuckwad.

If you disagree with me, please post your address here, and I will come by your house and scream at you with a bullhorn 24 hours a day. After all, I have the right to free speech.

Re:You're a fucking moron. (0, Flamebait)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 years ago | (#27586293)

What the fuck does "free speech" have to do with harrassment and theft of service?

What part of "But all that means is that the CAN-SPAM act isn't the appropriate law to attack him with: instead, the Senator should just go for plain-old harassment" did you not understand, dumbass?

Failing at reading comprehension and embarrassing yourself by wrongfully insulting the writer while you're at it -- who's the moron now? LOL!

Re:You're a fucking moron. (1)

nmx (63250) | about 5 years ago | (#27586517)

"But all that means is that the CAN-SPAM act isn't the appropriate law to attack him with: instead, the Senator should just go for plain-old harassment" did you not understand, dumbass?

I think the part he was actually responding to was "Spam is commercial email. This is email about a pending legislative action, and thus Jack Thompson has the right to send it because he has a right to free speech." Spam isn't necessarily commercial, and no he doesn't. The fact that the CAN-SPAM act in particular may not apply doesn't change the widely accepted definition of spam.

Re:You're a fucking moron. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586715)

What part of "But all that means is that the CAN-SPAM act isn't the appropriate law to attack him with: instead, the Senator should just go for plain-old harassment" did you not understand, dumbass?

What part of What the fuck does "free speech" have to do with harrassment and theft of service? makes you think I was responding to that part of your message, moron?

In addition to not understanding simple rights, are you too stupid to understand quoting? How the fuck do you manage to function at all?

Here's what you should do: read the line right before what I wrote (which is a quote of your message.)

Also, when responding to someone, you might want to READ WHAT THEY WROTE.

Specifically, WHAT DOES HARRASSMENT HAVE TO DO WITH FREE SPEECH?

Failing at reading comprehension and embarrassing yourself by wrongfully insulting the writer while you're at it -- yes, that was you, not me.

Re:You're a fucking moron. (2)

gruber76 (79421) | about 5 years ago | (#27586305)

This is just funny. I think "If you think that ANYONE has the right to harrass and intimidate people, for any reason, you are a complete fuckwad" is a wonderfully self-referential phrase that should not soon be forgotten.

Re:You're a fucking moron. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586327)

Spam is commercial email.

No. Spam is unsolicited bulk email.

This *IS* spam.

This is email about a pending legislative action

I don't give a flying fuck what the content is - it's still spam.

Uhm? So you think spam is any email of which the contents you don't want to flying fuck? By that logic, my boss and certain co-workers spam the shit out of me daily, time to sue?

Re:You're a fucking moron. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586421)

Uh, dude, political and religious speech is specifically exempted in the law.

We're not talking about your feelings about the matter, we're talking about facts.

Re:You're a fucking moron. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586641)

This *IS* spam.

Saying it louder doesn't make it so.

This is email about a pending legislative action I don't give a flying fuck what the content is - it's still spam.

Speaking of morons, that statement is moronic. Sending "unsolicited" communication about topical issues to senators and congressmen is an important part of the political process.

If you think that ANYONE has the right to harrass and intimidate people, for any reason, you are a complete fuckwad.

I doubt the senator was intimidated. And I doubt that you think so. So why did you include it? Do you think it makes your "argument" sound stronger?

If you disagree with me, please post your address here, and I will come by your house and scream at you with a bullhorn 24 hours a day. After all, I have the right to free speech.

See if you can come up with some non-fallacious arguments. Of course Jack Thompson is pain in the ass nut-job. But subverting some law to deal with him, as amusing as it is in this case, is just weasly-politician behavior.

Re:Jack Thompson is right: it's NOT spam. (5, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 5 years ago | (#27586383)

Spam is commercial email. This is email about a pending legislative action, and thus Jack Thompson has the right to send it because he has a right to free speech.

Just to clarify...

Spam is not always commercial email. However, I believe the CAN-SPAM act is only concerned with unsolicited commercial email. So in that sense, you're probably right that the CAN-SPAM act doesn't apply to this case.

As for filters - that's what spammers say. I don't buy the argument. At some point, the harasser will attempt to bypass filters and you end up inducing a cost to keep ahead of the filtering arms race.

Re:Jack Thompson is right: it's NOT spam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586555)

Ok, asdf1n@asdfjkasdf.com is blocked... bkdjfkdjfj@dkdjjdf.com is blocked. Now what?

Not his first time. (4, Informative)

kramer (19951) | about 5 years ago | (#27585953)

Not long after being disbarred, Ol' Jack spammed the entire membership of the Florida Bar (all Florida lawyers) asking for personal stories about how other members have been "unfairly" targeted by the Florida Bar. I presume he wanted to start some sort of class action suit, but I haven't heard anything further about it.

Re:Not his first time. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 years ago | (#27586061)

Ol' Jack spammed the entire membership of the Florida Bar (all Florida lawyers) asking for personal stories about how other members have been "unfairly" targeted by the Florida Bar.

Similarly to what I noted above [slashdot.org], that is likewise not spam -- at least in the legal "CAN-SPAM Act" sense -- because the emails weren't sent for a commercial purpose. Instead, it would be a different sort of offense (e.g. regular harassment via email).

The only way it would have been spam is if he'd asked for the purpose of collecting the stories into a book (and then selling it) or something like that.

Re:Not his first time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586871)

Unsolicited bulk e-mail is spam in the general sense. Whether they are clearly asking for money or not doesn't matter to most people. It's annoying and wasteful of resources. As you point out, the CAN-SPAM act defines a much narrower scope (i.e. "commercial"), but that's not all that qualifies. The title of the "CAN-SPAM" act includes a "P" for "pornography" ("Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act"). Arguably, the image Jack sent could qualify for that aspect, because the CAN-SPAM act specifies that any such message must include the phrase "SEXUALLY EXPLICIT" in it, ostensibly to allow easy filtering.

So, you may be right it is non-commercial, but could be wrong about the CAN-SPAM act applying. It hinges on what qualifies as "pornography" and whether Jack sent it in bulk. But I'm not a lawyer.

I'm still laughing at the prospect that Utah's AG might charge Thompson for not properly labeling his e-mail as sexually explicit, though :-)

Re:Not his first time. (1)

orclevegam (940336) | about 5 years ago | (#27586403)

Didn't Jack make some sort of statement prior to being disbarred that he was going to file a class action lawsuit against the Florida bar? Lawyers may be sharks, but they look after their own, one lawyer tries to go after another one (let alone an entire body like the Florida bar) and he'll find himself rather quickly taking a long walk off a short pier, as Jack found out.

Hint for spammers: (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#27585969)

If you flood someone with spam, they may turn against you, even if they were on your side originally.

In other words, way to shoot your own foot.

Re:Hint for spammers: (2, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 5 years ago | (#27586147)

In other words, way to shoot your own foot.

Jack Thompson has so repeatedly shot himself in the foot that I don't think that there's any feet left any more.

First Amendment (4, Informative)

internic (453511) | about 5 years ago | (#27585987)

If I understand this correctly, Thompson was petitioning elected representatives for a particular change in law. No matter how annoying his tactics or the fact that he was asked to stop, I have to believe that any prosecution of him for these actions would be thrown out on first amendment grounds. Recall that the first amendment reads as follows (emphasis mine):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Of course, in usual Slashdot fashion, IANAL.

Re:First Amendment (2, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 years ago | (#27586079)

Given Thompson's track record, his petition was probably anything but peaceable. He killed someone's fax machine in one of his previous crusades.

Re:First Amendment (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 years ago | (#27586181)

You're not the only one [slashdot.org] who realized that. I suppose you got modded up instead of me because I titled my post "Jack Thompson is right." Oh well.

Anyway, I think all that means is that the Senator would be incorrect to prosecute him under the CAN-SPAM Act. I bet Jack Thompson could still be prosecuted under some other anti-harassment law. Even if it is about legislation, if it's more harassing than it is political then it stops being protected speech.

Re:First Amendment (3, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | about 5 years ago | (#27586329)

I'm no big fan of Jack Thompson, but in addition to what you said about any CAN-SPAM bits, this (if true) caught my eye..

Senate President Michael Waddoups' statements: 'I asked you before to remove me from your mailing list. I supported your bill but because of the harassment will not again. If I am not removed,

"Stop sending me spam or I will not support your bill" sounds dangerously close to "send me $ or I will not support your bill". I realize that word on the street is that all politicians are corrupt anyway, but a public admission to in my opinion a less-than-honorable ethic? Yikes.

If Thompson's bill was worth supporting before, then his bill should still be worth supporting after annoying e-mails, spam or for all I care: murder. If it was only worth supporting because he liked the guy, then it was never worth supporting to begin with. Either way, Senator President Michael Waddoups needs to take a real close look at what he said.

We're not writing off ReiserFS just because Hans Reiser was convicted of murder - this should be no different.
( ReiserFS is being written off for technical reasons in many situations, but that's a different story on a different website. )

Re:First Amendment (2, Insightful)

nmx (63250) | about 5 years ago | (#27586609)

If Thompson's bill was worth supporting before, then his bill should still be worth supporting after annoying e-mails, spam or for all I care: murder.

Clearly you don't understand how the Senate works. Bills need support to pass, regarldess of their content. People make deals to support each other's bills. Having friends in your court is crucial if you want to get anything passed. Is this right? Maybe not, but that's how it is, and it's not exactly a secret. For more information, I suggest reading Fight Club Politics, available at your local library.

Re:First Amendment (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#27586843)

"Stop sending me spam or I will not support your bill" sounds dangerously close to "send me $ or I will not support your bill". I realize that word on the street is that all politicians are corrupt anyway, but a public admission to in my opinion a less-than-honorable ethic? Yikes.

I think this is one of those cases where you're mistaking incompetence for malice. To me it looks like he supported the bill because he was thinking of the children, but now he realizes that Thompson is a big fucking idiot and his bill is probably just as stupid. In that case, the only flaw is supporting the bill at all.

Re:First Amendment (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 5 years ago | (#27586201)

True his actions are considered free speech; however, Jack Thompson doesn't really practice restraint when communicating. An endless amount of communication, especially when his recipient asked him to stop, could be considered harassment or stalking.

Re:First Amendment (5, Interesting)

SBacks (1286786) | about 5 years ago | (#27586265)

You have a very interesting point. However, he's petitioning the Utah state government, which he is not a constituent of. Does the 1st apply to just your local/state/national government, or to every local/state government?

Any lawyers around to clarify?

Well, maybe (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 5 years ago | (#27586647)

As with anything in terms of the Constitution and your rights, it isn't a black and white, set in stone thing. You have the right to petition the government, of that there is no question. However that doesn't mean you have the right to be a pain in the ass. You cannot, for example, follow your representative around all day long and scream at them. You aren't allowed to harass them any more than you are allowed to harass me.

So this is the kind of thing where you enter a gray area. Clearly you are allowed to send the government e-mails, letters, etc telling them your point of view. However there are lines you can cross where it again just becomes harassment. If you were to go and send your representative the same letter hundreds of times a day just to flood their office with mail, that might just be harassment. Same sort of thing if you got a group to call in all the tiem and try to tie up their phone lines so nobody else could reach them.

I'm not saying they are necessarily right in this case, I'd have to know more about it and then my opinion doesn't really matter, the court's does, but just because he's contacting his representatives doesn't mean any and everything is ok. You have a right to contact them and tell them what you believe, how you want them to vote and so on. You don't have a right to try and flood them with your point of view to try and drown everyone else out.

Re:First Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586723)

The Bill of Rights is commonly interpreted to the level of "Your rights end where mine begin". Depending on the nature of the email, they could have fallen under "petition" (though a one person petition is pretty flimsy). If the emails were uniquely addressed to the individuals to whom they were sent, then it *could* fall under harassment, as then it is targeted to the recipients, as opposed to the "commercial SPAM" addressed in other threads. As usual IANAL.

Re:First Amendment (1)

MasseKid (1294554) | about 5 years ago | (#27586857)

Yes, and he did petition with the first e-mail. At which point, the govermental represenative said no. He then sent a second e-mail along the same arguments as the first. After being denied he proceeded with a third, at this point you've crossed the line to harrasment of an individual not his political office.

Surprise! (4, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 5 years ago | (#27585989)

Well, from Utah's Senate Site, we get the picture of what Jack is up to now: spamming his last friends on the planet.

He still has friends?

Re:Surprise! (1)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | about 5 years ago | (#27586139)

Did. He *did* have friends.

Re:Surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586347)

Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more! No more! No more! No more!
Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more!

This use of CAN-SPAM is unconstitutional (4, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | about 5 years ago | (#27586019)

Ok, well, I really hate to be on the side of Jack Thompson, but. . .

U.S. Constitution - 1st Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Simply put, if you are a legislator, you have no right to ask people to not petition you. Jack Thompson was exercising his contitutionally protected right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. There is nothing CAN-SPAM can do about that. Such an application would be clearly unconstitutional.

Now, that said. . . there's such a thing as an email filter that automatically deletes email from certain senders. . .

Re:This use of CAN-SPAM is unconstitutional (3, Insightful)

tim_darklighter (822987) | about 5 years ago | (#27586357)

You bring up an interesting (if partially unrelated) point. By the First Amendment, can an elected official filter email from his/her constituent(s) in their district/state/etc.? I realize Thompson is not a Utah resident, but if he was, would his elected officials have the right to filter out their email, since it automatically would delete anything from Thompson (or other people) that the elected official wants to ignore? Would this constituent the government unlawfully silencing the redress of grievances?

I wouldn't be surprised if this has already been addressed (especially related to postal junk mail), but it might save some lawsuits from people (like Jack Thompson) who just want to hear their own voice and will do anything (however asinine) to make sure that happens.

Re:This use of CAN-SPAM is unconstitutional (2, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | about 5 years ago | (#27586401)

I dunno. I thought about that, but the thing is, the First Ammendment only states that Congress cannot enact any laws restricting those rights, or punishing people for exercising those rights. An individual Senator deleting your emails is not congress passing a law. You have a right to petition the government, but people in Government, I think, have a certain right to ignore you if they choose.

I mean, is there anything that stops a senator from throwing your mail in the trashcan when he sees it's from you? Filters are sort of the equivalent of looking at who a physical letter is from and tossing it in the trash.

Re:This use of CAN-SPAM is unconstitutional (1)

nmx (63250) | about 5 years ago | (#27586663)

Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom ... to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I assume this is the part you're referring to, but I don't agree with your interpretation. I don't think petitioning "the government" in this case means that harrassing one government official in particular is necessarily Constitutionally protected behavior.

Re:This use of CAN-SPAM is unconstitutional (1)

JSBiff (87824) | about 5 years ago | (#27586745)

Well, there might exist a valid harassment claim, but I don't think you could use CAN-SPAM for this. Ultimately, it's up to the courts to decide, but I just can't see it being valid that an Anti-Spam law could be used to punish people for sending emails to legislators seeking those legislators' support in regards to a matter of governance.

As for harassment, I'd personally have to be seeing multiple emails per day before I'd be inclined to find someone guilty of harassment in a situation like this. Jack sending an email every few days, or even every day, petitioning a state senator, is harassment? I just don't see it.

Memo to Jack Thompson: (2, Funny)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | about 5 years ago | (#27586025)

Please, please, please, please, please ignore the rantings of those less enlightened than you. You need to keep up the crusade! Don't stop your actions just because of some idle threats! Keep sending them email until they relent! You know so much more than they do! You're the one that's right!

for those of you that don't understand the above post, please consult your dictionary under the heading "Sarcasm"

Get down from there Jack! (0)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 years ago | (#27586055)

You are not a lawyer. You can't even file legal actions.

Re:Get down from there Jack! (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 5 years ago | (#27586237)

You are not a lawyer. You can't even file legal actions.

The due process clause laughs at your feeble understanding of the legal system.

His punishment should be... (3, Funny)

VinylRecords (1292374) | about 5 years ago | (#27586063)

...to complete GTA3, VC, SA, and GTAIV (with DLC) 100%. Story modes, hidden packages, unique jumps, taxi rides, you name it *.

He can't leave the mental institution they place him in until he beats those games.

*Gameshark or other cheats no allowed

Re:His punishment should be... (4, Funny)

Pop69 (700500) | about 5 years ago | (#27586119)

*Gameshark or other cheats no allowed

He's allowed hot coffee now and again isn't he ?

This is great! (2, Funny)

mc1138 (718275) | about 5 years ago | (#27586089)

I remember a time when Jack Thompson angered me for his ignorance, but now, its better than daytime soap opera drama! He's like the Al Sharpton of video game violence or something, and at this point no one is taking him seriously anyway. I love a good Jack Thompson headline these days, makes me feel better about myself.

I'm on Thompson's side on this one... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 5 years ago | (#27586141)

As dirty as that feels.

Of you can't petition your representatives you don't have a democratic system.

And if I was the senator I'd certainly prefer random lunatic emails then Thompson making a personal visit to my office each and every day to complain about some damn video games.

Re:I'm on Thompson's side on this one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586269)

Is Mr. Thompson a citizen of Utah? What right can he claim to petition *SOMEONE ELSES* representative?

Re:I'm on Thompson's side on this one... (1)

JSBiff (87824) | about 5 years ago | (#27586313)

Well, if you want to play the Jurisdiction game, one could ask what Jurisdiction the Utah AG has over a case involving interstate communications? Anything related to interstate comm automatically becomes Federal jurisdiction, I thought? IANAL.

Re:I'm on Thompson's side on this one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27586709)

You have the right to petition, but it doesn't give you unlimited access to the government. Just like there are limits on free speech (the whole "fire" thing for example), there are limits on petitioning. Jack is way way past those limits by any sane definition.

What about access to our elected officials? (0)

gruber76 (79421) | about 5 years ago | (#27586177)

While I'm no fan of Jack Thompson, I'm suddenly a little scared of the CAN-SPAM act. It's one thing for an elected official to stop accepting my calls, return my mail unread, and filter my email into the trash. It's another, much scarier, thing for that official to threaten me with fines and imprisonment for trying to influence legislation in the most accessible method available. We're not talking about fraud or bribery here, just annoying, obnoxious, and protected speech.

Re:What about access to our elected officials? (3, Informative)

BountyX (1227176) | about 5 years ago | (#27586359)

I believe he was sending automated mailing-list type emails although he was asked to stop. This would be different than constructing multiple emails for a single recipient; furthermore, you are more likely to run into allegations of harassment rather than prosecution by AG using CAN-SPAM. Just like with excessive calling, if such actions become harassing, a restraining order can be awarded.

Circling the Drain (3, Funny)

gzine (949554) | about 5 years ago | (#27586213)

So how long until Jack's career is reduced to fetish porn to support his drug addiction?

Re:Circling the Drain (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#27586419)

So how long until Jack's career is reduced to fetish porn to support his drug addiction?

Give the man some credit, he's not that bad.

He'll be peddling drugs to support his fetish sex addiction.

Email Past It's Prime (3, Funny)

kenp2002 (545495) | about 5 years ago | (#27586391)

Email has become a victim of its (or is it it's) own success. Now we are moving to invite only systems like IM. What we really need is a replacement electronic messaging platform with some form of "postage". I for one suggest teaming up with Stanford and get folding@home a form of postage. Sender must complete 1 work unit for every message sent to a non-registered recipient (a.k.a 1 WU = 1 unsolicited message.)

In addition the government should provide each citizen an official goverment mailbox for non-critical information [INFO] level messages that are from goverment to citizens. Attached to that mailbox is your current legal residence location for automatic filtering and routing Senator and House member email, never forgetting who your represenatives are!

Anyone wanna help put a demo together?

Of course (1)

Anivair (921745) | about 5 years ago | (#27586453)

Yet another user who can't follow the links at the bottom of his email. Why can these people never remove themselves? Jack Thompson is a slug, but i doubt he's using magic email lists that you can't remove yourself from.

hmm (2, Interesting)

immakiku (777365) | about 5 years ago | (#27586651)

"I supported your bill but because of the harassment will not again". Why is this senator publicly letting personal affairs affect legislation? I hope he is never re-elected.

New Job for Jack... (1)

sherpajohn (113531) | about 5 years ago | (#27586837)

He should become Michael Jackson's lawyer...then it would be a total nut-job defending a complete wacko.

Jack Thompson is a good person (2, Funny)

rwwyatt (963545) | about 5 years ago | (#27586839)

Next to him, I appear to be sane. I can always point to the fact that Jack Thompson hasn't been committed yet when they come to take me away!
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