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Anti-Spam Lawyer Loses Appeal, and His Possessions

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the know-when-to-fold dept.

Spam 237

Techdirt is reporting that one particularly rabid anti-spam fighter has not only lost his case, but most of his worldly possessions as well. James Gordon tried to set himself up as an ISP to get around the conventions of the CAN SPAM act in order to set up a litigation house designed to sue companies that spam. Unfortunately a judge did not take kindly to this trick and ordered him to pay $110,000 to the firm he was suing, a decision that was not only upheld on appeal but accompanied by some very unkind words trying to shut down litigation mills like his. "But, perhaps even more fascinating is that the guy, James Gordon, didn't just lose the lawsuit, it appears he lost most of his possessions as well. Remember that ruling telling him to pay the $110k to Virtumundo? He refused. The company sent the debt to a collections agency, but told Gordon they'd call off the collections agency if he dropped the appeal. Gordon didn't."

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237 comments

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Morton's Fork (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179049)

I'm not sure who to be cheering for on this one: the barrator or the spammer. Who should we revile more? Dante reserved the fifth pouch of the Eighth Circle of Hell for barrators, but he says nothing at all about spammers.

Re:Morton's Fork (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179123)

Spammer's are level 10 vile which is why nothing was said....

Re:Morton's Fork (-1, Flamebait)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179263)

Sending emails is level 10? It's the system that's flawed for letting spam be possible; there's nothing evil about sending tons of messages. Engineers, not courts, should be fixing technical problems.

Who even gets spam anyway? Switch to Gmail or stop posting your address all over the web.

Re:Morton's Fork (5, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179313)

Spam isn't a technical problem, it's a social problem. EVERY communication channel that gets created, gets abused by people like this until the law comes down on them to stop it. Whether it's email spam or loudspeaker trucks, it's the same problem.

Re:Morton's Fork (2, Insightful)

cpghost (719344) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179733)

Whether it's email spam or loudspeaker trucks, it's the same problem.

Yes, indeed. However, you've got to pay for fuel, drivers, trucks, + taxes for all of them, operating the loudspeaker trucks. The spam zombies on the other hand are free as in beer, and the IRS doesn't get its lion's share either.

Re:Morton's Fork (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179931)

Spam isn't a technical problem, it's a social problem. EVERY communication channel that gets created, gets abused by people like this until the law comes down on them to stop it. Whether it's email spam or loudspeaker trucks, it's the same problem.

The technical part of the problem is that there's no way to enforce a legal solution.

Re:Morton's Fork (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181151)

Except to outlaw spam, and take out their severs. Then you can outlaw botnets that are installed without knowledge. Then you can actually try to find the people behind it, and sentence them to a day in prison for each piece of spam they sent, for each person involved with the operation. That would very quickly rack up a life sentence for many of them.

Re:Morton's Fork (5, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181685)

The technical part of the problem is that there's no way to enforce a legal solution.

Follow the lead of the TCPA and allow EVERYONE to take spammers to court, instead of this corrupt law that only permits ISPs to do so, and spam would stop in short order.

Re:Morton's Fork (-1, Troll)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180597)

If you leave a communication channel wide open, expect people to message you whether you want it or not. You give implied consent to fill your inbox by setting up a daemon that copies all incoming message data to your mail.

Loudspeaker trucks are in the real world where people can't sleep because there's noise. Spam is in the Wired, where it's completely optional whether you want to listen or not, and it's your responsibility.

These laws are ridiculous anyway. Someone writes a program that saves incoming system messages for later. 40 years later, it becomes illegal to use this program too often. They would have laughed you out of the room if you tried to tell them about CAN-SPAM, and not just because of the name. "What? Don't use it then!" they would have said.

You don't have to run a mail server, and if you do you don't have to accept mail from untrusted hosts. At most, spam should be covered under denial-of-service for putting unreasonable load on receiving mail servers. Fighting email spam is a technical problem, not anything that has ever hurt anyone. Cost to business? Their own problem for inviting it. You don't set a plate of cookies outside with a big sign pointing to them and call that cost to businesses when the next day they're all gone. If businesses opt to set up open mail servers then they can't complain when people use them.

Yes, I understand that it is a problem and it does cost businesses a lot of money, so congress has an interest in legislating it. But I do think my free-cookie analogy is valid, because the system is just that broken. The system is specifically designed to make it as easy as possible to send as many emails as you want to whoever you want. There are endless propositions to make email work, and just about any of them would be a vast improvement. Here are a few short ideas off the top of my head:

Completely toss the idea of accepting mail from anybody. We already use a Web of Trust model for the Web, do something like that for email. Make sure people understand that they're not going to be able to communicate with people not set up as a trusted contact unless they're vetted by a trusted provider. This doesn't have to be hard. Your ISP knows you're a real person, and has strong incentive to restrict your outgoing emails to a few a day if it wants to keep its certificates. Scared of lock-in? This could work just as well with third parties. I can see myself only trusting a high quality trust-provider with a reputation of brutally dropping anything remotely resembling spam.

Allowing a non-trusted person to email you can be as easy as PMing/texting/businesscarding them a little 6 or 7 digit key. High-volume business email like Amazon's customer service or something already deals with lots of spam and could just be configured to use traditional filtering to completely avoid the possibility of losing business.

That's all random-people-connecting-with-businesses by the way. Social communication is much easier. For IM just require friend approval before they can message you. Other stuff like email can be done like a darknet, where you trust just friends you know. Then you can route Trust through your friends, and set how many degrees of separation you want to accept. Just two or three friends out and you've probably encompassed everyone you know, even if you haven't personally contacted them online. Everyone else can either get vetted by a trusted provider or they can just be screwed because nobody should expect to be able to communicate with anyone randomly without being trusted.

We have the attitude completely backwards. Instead of eliminating spam we don't want, we should be behind an interview table squinting and asking "So mr freeman why do you think I should accept mail from you?" or maybe more realistically "So, info page from major free Trust provider, why should I use you and not your competitor?"

Re:Morton's Fork (2, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180883)

You give implied consent for me to sleep in your house by using only a bit of plywood and some drywall to keep me outside.

And that unfenced lawn at your house? Implied consent. Enjoy the turd I left you.

Re:Morton's Fork (5, Funny)

Herby Sagues (925683) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181241)

Mr. Spammer, you swine. You vulgar little maggot. You worthless bag of filth. As they say in Texas. I'll bet you couldn't pour piss out of a boot with instructions on the heel. You are a canker. A sore that won't go away. I would rather kiss a lawyer than be seen with you. You're a putrescent mass, a walking vomit. You are a spineless little worm deserving nothing but the profoundest contempt. You are a jerk, a cad, a weasel. Your life is a monument to stupidity. You are a stench, a revulsion, a big suck on a sour lemon. You are a bleating foal, a curdled staggering mutant dwarf smeared richly with the effluvia and offal accompanying your alleged birth into this world. An insensate, blinking calf, meaningful to nobody, abandoned by the puke-drooling, giggling beasts who sired you and then killed themselves in recognition of what they had done. I will never get over the embarrassment of belonging to the same species as you. You are a monster, an ogre, a malformity. I barf at the very thought of you. You have all the appeal of a paper cut. Lepers avoid you. You are vile, worthless, less than nothing. You are a weed, a fungus, the dregs of this earth. And did I mention you smell? You snail-skulled little rabbit. Would that a hawk pick you up, drive its beak into your brain, and upon finding it rancid set you loose to fly briefly before spattering the ocean rocks with the frothy pink shame of your ignoble blood. May you choke on the queasy, convulsing nausea of your own trite, foolish beliefs. You are weary, stale, flat and unprofitable. You are grimy, squalid, nasty and profane. You are foul and disgusting. You're a fool, an ignoramus. Monkeys look down on you. Even sheep won't have sex with you. You are unreservedly pathetic, starved for attention, and lost in a land that reality forgot. And what meaning do you expect your delusionally self-important statements of unknowing, inexperienced opinion to have with us? What fantasy do you hold that you would believe that your tiny-fisted tantrums would have more weight than that of a leprous desert rat, spinning rabidly in a circle, waiting for the bite of the snake? You are a waste of flesh. You have no rhythm. You are ridiculous and obnoxious. You are the moral equivalent of a leech. You are a living emptiness, a meaningless void. You are sour and senile. You are a disease, you puerile one-handed slack-jawed drooling meatslapper. On a good day you're a half-wit. You remind me of drool. You are deficient in all that lends character. You have the personality of wallpaper. You are dank and filthy. You are asinine and benighted. You are the source of all unpleasantness. You spread misery and sorrow wherever you go. You smarmy lagerlout git. You bloody woofter sod. Bugger off, pillock. You grotty wanking oik artless base-court apple-john. You clouted boggish foot-licking twit. You dankish clack-dish plonker. You gormless crook-pated tosser. You churlish boil-brained clotpole ponce. You cockered bum-bailey poofter. You craven dewberry pisshead cockup pratting naff. You gob-kissing gleeking flap-mouthed coxcomb. You dread-bolted fobbing beef-witted clapper-clawed flirt-gill. You are a fiend and a coward, and you have bad breath. You are degenerate, noxious and depraved. I feel debased just for knowing you exist. I despise everything about you, and I wish you would go away. I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. Your writing has to be a troll. Nothing in our universe can really be this stupid. Perhaps this is some primordial fragment from the original big bang of stupid. Some pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by anything else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we know. I'm sorry. I can't go on. This is an epiphany of stupid for me. After this, you may not hear from me again for a while. I don't have enough strength left to deride your ignorant questions and half baked comments about unimportant trivia, or any of the rest of this drivel. Duh. The only thing worse than your logic is your manners. Maybe later in life, after you have learned to read, write, spell, and count, you will have more success. True, these are rudimentary skills that many of us "normal" people take for granted that everyone has an easy time of mastering. But we sometimes forget that there are "challenged" persons in this world who find these things more difficult. If I had known, that this was your case then I would have never read your post. It just wouldn't have been "right". Sort of like parking in a handicap space. I wish you the best of luck in the emotional, and social struggles that seem to be placing such a demand on you. P.S. You are hypocritical, greedy, violent, malevolent, vengeful, cowardly, deadly, mendacious, meretricious, loathsome, despicable, belligerent, opportunistic, barratrous, contemptible, criminal, fascistic, bigoted, racist, sexist, avaricious, tasteless, idiotic, brain-damaged, imbecilic, insane, arrogant, deceitful, demented, lame, self-righteous, byzantine,conspiratorial, satanic, fraudulent, libelous, bilious, splenetic, spastic, ignorant, clueless, illegitimate, harmful, destructive, dumb, evasive, double-talking, devious, revisionist, narrow, manipulative, paternalistic, fundamentalist, dogmatic, idolatrous, unethical, cultic, diseased, suppressive, controlling, restrictive, malignant, deceptive, dim, crazy, weird, dystopic, stifling, uncaring, plantigrade, grim, unsympathetic, jargon-spouting, censorious, secretive, aggressive, mind-numbing, arassive, poisonous, flagrant, self-destructive, abusive, socially-retarded, puerile, clueless, and generally Not Good. In other words, go away. Your mother is a whore and the daughter of a whore. Your father was likely her brother, but could have been any of her cousins. I'd have a second deliver a card on a silver platter, but your kind generally wouldn't understand it, and doesn't deserve much more than a dog-whipping anyway. You havn't got a clue. You couldn't get a clue if you smeared yourself with clue musk and danced the clue mating dance in a field full of horny clues in clue mating season. Your eyebrows meet in the middle, your forehead slopes, your pet gerbil wants you dead. Your mother would dress you funny if she could afford clothes. You're the primary reason bigots hate your ethnic group. You were obviously not toilet-trained correctly, which explains the stains on the floor of your cardboard box. Your webbed feet go well with the pointy forehead. Your manners are hideous, your brain minute, and your body odor could fell an ox. You would fit in on a short bus to a convention of Fundies. You are a living, breathing poster-child for birth-control and abortion. I hope you go away painfully.

Re:Morton's Fork (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181327)

Oh come on, tell us how you really feel...

Re:Morton's Fork (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181341)

This was sort of funny the first 47 times we saw it posted here. Now its just old and irritating. Like hearing a knock-knock joke over and over.

Re:Morton's Fork (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181667)

If you leave a communication channel wide open, expect people to message you whether you want it or not. You give implied consent to fill your inbox by setting up a daemon that copies all incoming message data to your mail.

You argue like a spammer.

On the contrary, if you set up barriers and filters and approval systems to keep people you haven't invited, you destroy the usefulness of the communications channel. In fact the greatest damage spam causes is the fact that it breaks the system. Cowering behind a web of trust, the Face Space model, prevents more useful communication than spam does.

Re:Morton's Fork (0)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179277)

Isn't a mortons fork when both choices are bad (damned if you do, damned if you don't)? What is it when both choices are good (in this case, who to revile more)?

Re:Morton's Fork (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179451)

Revile the legislators who caved to the direct marketing lobby and took away your right to sue those leeches.

Re:Morton's Fork (5, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179471)

I'm not sure who to be cheering for on this one: the barrator or the spammer. Who should we revile more?

I can answer the question on whom we should revile more: the politicians who passed anti-spam laws that effectively protect the spammers.

Re:Morton's Fork (1)

K.os023 (1093385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179671)

In this case, the spammer is also a distributor of malware. (see the wiki for Virtumuno [wikipedia.org] for more info)

To stay in your terminology I guess that would make them vandals or something...

Re:Morton's Fork (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179889)

Despite the jokes and such, lawyers are not universally evil. Only about 98% of them are. There are a few out there who do good work. This lawyer's work looks like it was an attempt to do good (and perhaps profit off of it, but that's OK if it means hurting spammers). If some lawyers could find other ways of improving society and profiting highly in the process, I'm all for it. There's plenty of possible targets: corrupt politicians, Microsoft, social services abusers, etc. Don't forget, there's lawyers doing good, not-very-profitable work too, like the guys at EFF and the ones who fight the RIAA.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of lawyers only serve to help themselves (and their evil clients), and harm society in the process.

Re:Morton's Fork (1, Troll)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180629)

It's actually the other way around, 98% of lawyers ARE decent people. 2% are dirty evil rats who want to screw everyone as hard as they can, we just hear about them more because guess which type of lawyer most big litigation happy corporations are interested in hiring.

Re:Morton's Fork (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180755)

I completely disagree. The entire adversarial legal system rewards people who have no ethics, and it's a field where sociopaths can excel, so the smart ones are drawn to it. I'm sure, once they figure out how to do a brain scan that conclusively proves someone is a sociopath, they could grab 1000 lawyers, and 1000 regular citizens, and find a far higher number of lawyers that are sociopaths. I don't know about 98%, but I'm sure the number of evil lawyers is much higher than your 2%.

We don't even hear about all the evil lawyers, only the very worst ones. We never hear about all the ambulance-chasers that get clients to sue because, for example, their client was too stupid to stop for a train and thought it'd be a good idea to drive around the crossing guards. A large number of lawyers are people like this, and they don't even get to court; they just have to scare big companies into settling, and this just drives up the cost of everything for everyone else. Or what about all the slimy criminal defense lawyers that twist things around so they can get their clients off? I can understand defending someone you genuinely think didn't do it, but when you know your client's guilty (and you have to in order to argue your case), the only ethical thing you can possibly do is to help him get the most appropriate sentence instead of getting stuck with a draconian one.

Don't forget all the district attorneys who measure their success in how many cases they can successfully prosecute, so they can claim they're "tough on crime" in the next election. So, they end up prosecuting everyone that can, for anything they can possibly stick them with, including people who lawfully defend themselves against violent criminals.

Re:Morton's Fork (2, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181297)

We don't hear about good lawyers ever. Instead, we have to put up with bullshit posts like yours that don't even make sense. You say that district attorneys are evil. You also said that criminal defense lawyers are slimy. I guess you think the only decent people in the criminal justice system are the criminals. I know your retort already: the system punishes people for minor crimes like marijuana possession. Well, you're also siding with the child molesters and rapists. SOMEONE has to put them away, and SOMEONE has to defend those innocently accused of the crime. That's a lawyer. Or we could do without lawyers and stone people on the accusation of three others. Your choice.

Re:Morton's Fork (3, Insightful)

chaboud (231590) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181583)

We could have a legal system not so mired in procedure that it makes it next to impossible for the layman to defend himself, and this system has been perpetually perverted by those blurring the line between zealous adversarial representation and inhuman chicanery.

At this point, yes, we need lawyers, but, in my experience, I haven't found 90% of lawyers to be either good or evil. Maybe 10% are strongly either way. The rest are just like us, lazy, tired, mildly manipulative, and so busy doing the job that they've lost sight of any greater meaning of the work. The next time your doctor gives you Flonase instead of a chest x-ray because they'd rather turf you than fight with your HMO? Yeah.. same thing.

Re:Morton's Fork (4, Insightful)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181529)

How many lawyers do you personally know? I'm curious. I am currently working as a summer student at a law firm, and before that I worked as a clerk at an Insurance Defence firm, and when I go to school in the fall, all my teachers will be lawyers. So I'd say, guessing roughly, that I've met and talked to maybe 30-50 real, live, practicing or teaching lawyers (some practice as well as teach), and I have to tell you, out of all of them, there's only one that I suspect is possibly a sociopath. The rest are hard-working, honest people with varying degrees of ethical awareness, mostly fairly developed senses of ethical awareness. They take legal aid cases because their clients can't afford representation, or they mount Charter challenges to challenge overzealous cops or bad laws, they draw up wills, guide clients through divorces, and do the paperwork for your house sale. They teach business law, commercial law, and yes, ethics. Only a small portion do what you think of as "unethical" lawyering, and most of those know that there is ethical value in the work they do, and they care about that value, a great deal.

I think you don't understand the ethics of lawyering very well. The lawyers who chase ambulances are also the lawyers who keep corporations from completely neglecting quality control, and who keep insurance companies paying out settlements. Also, you mentioned criminal lawyers who defend clients that they know are guilty. You look at this and you see a lawyer who's protecting a criminal from being punished, and you think the lawyer is a slimeball. But that lawyer understands that when you have an adversarial system, every single person accused of a crime deserves a vigorous defence. Good criminal lawyers keep prosecutors honest, and they protect people from the much greater power of the state. If someone is guilty of a crime, but they get off because the prosecutor didn't build a good case, or because the cops roughed the guy up too much down at the station, then next time, the cops will know not to beat the shit out of prisoners, and prosecutors will know to do a good job instead of a sloppy mess of a prosecution.

As for the DA who prosecutes showy cases to help him at election time: well I'm a Canadian and I can't get over that you people in the US elect your prosecutors (and judges, for that matter). That seems wrong to me. You elect your government officials, as you should, a democracy is the worst form of government except for all the other forms; but there's room in the system for unelected professionals whose job is to protect people from the tyrrany of the majority, and lawyers, prosecutors and judges can fill that role well. But whatever, that's the system you have chosen for yourselves, and it works best when "slimeball" criminal attorneys can go all-out for their clients. It doesn't look pretty, but for the most part it works, and the people who make up the system know that what looks unethical to most people may be necessary to preserve the best parts of the system.

Re:Morton's Fork (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29180185)

The Arch-Traitors(Judas, Brutus and Cassius) go in Beelzebub's mouth. Spammers, on the other hand, have already been through the mouth and are now located somewhere in the rectum. That's where true suffering is at.

Re:Morton's Fork (1)

fucket (1256188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180645)

That's an easy question for me to answer as I don't even know what a barrator is.

Re:Morton's Fork (2, Interesting)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181323)

I'm definitely not an enviro-nazi, but has anybody read any reports on the amount of carbon spam produces? It may be 0's and 1's, but it still requires electricity. Try telling the current environmental that spam will ruin the planet and see how soon you get legislation enacted.

He should have set up a company to sue for him (3, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179115)

If he had some kind of limited-liability entity that sued, he might have been able to protect his own possessions, just like the patent trolls do by setting up a subsidiary for each group of patents.

Re:He should have set up a company to sue for him (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179157)

He should've used legalzoom.com to set up his "ISP"'s right hand as an LLC.

Re:He should have set up a company to sue for him (4, Informative)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179205)

Stone v. Frederick Hobby Associates II, LLC, 2001 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1853,
Superior Court, judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk, at Stamford, Docket No.
CV000181620S (July 10, 2001) (Mintz, J.),

Using an LLC to shield yourself from fraud doesn't necessarily work. As always, YMMV, IANAL, subject to jurisdiction, etc.

Re:He should have set up a company to sue for him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29180109)

The phrase you're looking for is "piercing the corporate veil", which is why that hasn't worked in America since the 1970s. Or, alternately, "I am not a lawyer", since anyone with legal training wouldn't suggest something like this.

Do you also tell people their heart pains aren't a big deal?

Because you don't like it doesn't make it illegal (3, Insightful)

lalena (1221394) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179165)

the appeals court came down even harder on the guy for clearly abusing the law, pointing out that he was clearly a professional litigant, and not someone running a real ISP

The spammers are violating the law by spamming. Is protecting your right to not receive spam abusing the law? Is there something illegal about being a professional litigant? I thought we called them lawyers.

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (1, Insightful)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179231)

There are too many powerful companies involved in spamming (aka online marketing.) There was no way a judge was going to make it easier on the average joe. Instead we all have to pay for people wasting bandwidth with their crappy advertising and making us sit there deleting emails every day.

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (0)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180005)

For which waste would you rather pay: wasted bandwidth from spam, or wasted court time from a professional litigant who sees anti-spam laws as a get-right-quick scheme?

I suspect that the wasted bandwidth is less noticeable in daily life.

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (1)

sloth jr (88200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180209)

Do you honestly think that's it's the legitimate companies that're the problem? Look through your junk folder on gmail, and you tell me how many of those represent legitimate companies involved in online marketing.

I empathize with the pain you describe, but place the blame where due - on the stupidity of those that actually respond to the spam, or the shady fly-by-night viagra and penis pump outfits, or botnet operators. (there will always be idiots in legit companies who are just trying to make it, and don't follow double opt-in practices, and the CAN-SPAM law is in my opinion fatally flawed primarily through that omission.

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29181539)

Do you honestly think that's it's the legitimate companies that're the problem?

Yes. My perspective is not the 95% of spam that SpamAssassin identifies (and is unseen except for the "edge" cases). The remaining 5% is still 80-90% of our email. Most of these are from seemingly identifiable but untrusted sources (meaning, I would generally not bother to ask them to stop spamming us - with some exceptions). You don't ask an untrusted source to stop spamming you because that only confirms you read their spam.

In terms of setting up a network of trust, CAN-SPAM is an abject failure and it prevents going after the identifiable bad actors and enablers (like linked-in - how do I tell them not to send any more email to our business domain?). Half the e-commerce sites market despite a checkbox preference selected to avoid such.

So the problem with CAN-SPAM is that the people you may want to hear from regarding purchases in progress - but not further and endless marketing materials - are totally immune from prosecution. As a result, I often do not provide an email address. NOBODY verifies it so they get either my throwaway address or something bogus using their own domain, like, privacy@slashdot.org.

We are hurt by not having good ground rules to play by among trusted partners. The 50-different state laws approach was thus preferable. There was a risk to SPAM. Now, there is almost none if you pretend to follow the law.

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (3, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179443)

The spammers are violating the law by spamming. Is protecting your right to not receive spam abusing the law?

It can be. Going against people with no regard for the law doesn't give you permission to ignore or misuse the law yourself.

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179735)

This makes no sense.

Cops do *exactly* that all the time - setting-up nonexistent businesses in order to catch criminals. They do it with prostitution rings to catch johns, fake child pron chats to catch sex offenders, pretend drug deals to catch users, and so on. This judgment means one of two things:

- Lawyers can not entrap people, but cops can, even if their actions are in violation of the law.
-or-
- Cops are forbidden from setting-up a fake ISP to "sting" spammers. Won't that make enforcement of CANSPAM more difficult?

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179831)

Entrapment is in the eye of the beholder, and while a police officer who has gotten proper warrants, or who is working on reasonable actionable knowledge will get a very different response from a judge than a private citizen who is just laying traps.

Of course, there's the question of the spirit of the law. If you really believe that this guy was setting up the "booby trap" ISP in order to help end the scourge of spam, then the outcome seems harsh. However, if you deem--as the judge apparently did--that he's just in it to make profit and that the people that he entrapped were being sucked into arbitrary litigation, then the outcome will seem quite appropriate.

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179965)

Of course, there's the question of the spirit of the law. If you really believe that this guy was setting up the "booby trap" ISP in order to help end the scourge of spam, then the outcome seems harsh. However, if you deem--as the judge apparently did--that he's just in it to make profit and that the people that he entrapped were being sucked into arbitrary litigation, then the outcome will seem quite appropriate.

I'm sorry, but it's exactly the same. If a lawyer can figure out how to use the courts to end the scourge of spam, and profits greatly in the process (by taking the money of the spammers), then I'm all for it.

This would be like a lawyer somehow figuring out how to nab child molesters, and in the process take possession of all their assets and bank accounts. The lawyer might have money as his motive, but if he's getting child molesters off the streets in the process, then that's OK. As long as he doesn't wrongly finger someone who's not really a molester, I don't see the problem.

Lawyers have bills to pay too, and to expect them to do useful work for free, and only get paid when doing scummy work which hurts society overall is ridiculous. I think this particular lawyer had the right idea: use the law to do something good for society (shut down spammers) and profit in the process.

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29180115)

Despite the name, entrapment doesn't have to do with being tricked, it has to do with being forced to do something you wouldn't otherwise have done. It's not "I wouldn't have done it if I'd known it was a trap" but "I wouldn't have done it if they didn't have a gun to my head".

One difference that I could see with a cop catching a spammer this way is that the money, if any, wouldn't be going into somebody's pocket.

But let's be honest for a second...policeman routinely act as if they are above the law. People are arrested around the country every day for asking for a badge number or going down to the station and asking for a complaint form. Don't believe me? Think your town is different? Go try it and see.

Sure, you'll get your day in court, but only when a prosecutor's been lined up and a bunch of one-size-fits-all charges have been filed against them. Resisting, interfering, failure to identify, etc.

Standing (4, Informative)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179927)

The spammers are violating the law by spamming.

For the court to be able to act on this assumption, it needs to make a finding of fact to that effect. Before such a finding of fact can be made, other aspects of the complaint must be evaluated. For example, the plaintiff needs to actually be entitled to pursue the complaint they are making.

So basically, in this case, the law says that to pursue a case against a spammer, the plaintiff must be an ISP. Before the court can decide whether the party being accused is actually spamming, it must determine whether the plaintiff is an ISP. The plaintiff failed that requirement, according to the court, case closed.

This may sound annoying to you in this one case, but really, this needs to be the case, in order for the legal system to throw out bad cases quickly. Read up on standing [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Because you don't like it doesn't make it illeg (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179985)

Is protecting your right to not receive spam abusing the law? Is there something illegal about being a professional litigant? I thought we called them lawyers.

No. A litigant is (in the context used here) a party to a lawsuit, not the attorney representing them.

Surprise Surprise (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179167)

idiot thinks they can apply "well technically" tricks in the legal system and gets smacked down by judges.

Who would have thunk it?

Re:Surprise Surprise (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29179305)

Hey, he saw corporations do it first!

James Gordon? (5, Funny)

Dusty101 (765661) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179175)

He'll be fine. Bruce Wayne will bail him out.

Re:James Gordon? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29180371)

He'll be fine. Bruce Wayne will bail him out.

I wouldn't want to be a Gotham City spammer after dark. Especially when Bats was having a "slow night".

The appeals court made a really biased decision. (4, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179203)

Reading the decision, it is clear that the appeals court was biased.

On the issue of the Washington law preemption, the Court referred to the complaint regarding subject lines and from lines as being "vanity domain names" that were not deceptive. The use of From lines of "Free IPOD" or "Free 50 inch Plasma TV" is deceptive. Just because, after opening the e-mail, and doing whois lookups, that you can determine that it is from Virtumundo, does not mean that the from is deceptive.

The appeals court refused to rule who is an IAS, but said that a well known IAS (ie. Hotmail) does not have to show harm from spam because it is obvious, but a little guy does. The Court went further and said that harm under can-spam can't be the ordinary business expense of carrying e-mail, but one can argue that any mail provider must filter spam and carry spam, therefore there can never be harm from spam, illegal or legal. Any good IAS must provide extra capacity so that if there is spam, they will not crash.

Do you feel sorry for the professional spammers that get harmed by the professional anti-spam litigation service? Of course, if Virtumundo itself in the from line, their spam would have been deleted by most filters.

Re:The appeals court made a really biased decision (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179469)

How are they biased? You do not seem to have proven any specific bias.

The Court may have come to what you consider an incorrect decision; that is not bias. The Court may have come to a decision found ultimately to be incorrect on appeal: that is not bias, either.

Bias requires a specific partiality to one party or another, and you have not even mentioned any sort of bias here.

Re:The appeals court made a really biased decision (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179511)

Reading the decision, it is clear that the appeals court was biased.

Uuum, that would be a physically inevitable fact, because it's made of humans, living in a reality in which everything (even time) is relative, with senses that filter everything a thousand times, and a brain that processes things based on past experiences.

What you meant, is that they did not have a bias that was compatible to yours.
I happen to myself have a bias that is (in this things) compatible to yours, so I am able to agree on your actual criticism.

But I hope you can now make better statements about these things. :)

Re:The appeals court made a really biased decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29180215)

Sounds like he was saying that they were biased in favor of fucking up the ruling.

Re:The appeals court made a really biased decision (5, Interesting)

lalena (1221394) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179845)

14 years ago I purchased a .com for my last name. I was able to get myFirstName@myLastName.com as my email address. How cool is that. Then the spam started (before good filtering). I was getting 1-2 GB of spam a day. My email file (BSD Unix) was open for write 24/7. I could never connect with my email client to download any emails. I'm not even sure if good filtering would have done any good. My hosting company couldn't figure out how to close the email account without closing the my user account (same name) that ran the web site. I basically had to telnet in and VI the file several times a week to delete everything to keep under my account's disk space quota. Also realize that domains still cost $70/year and hosting wasn't cheap back then either.
Spam can really cost someone money even if they aren't an ISP. I eventually had to change hosting companies just to kill that email address. To this day I can't use that address. Even with modern email filters, enough crap would get through to make it not worth using. I'm now using a gmail account.

Re:The appeals court made a really biased decision (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181295)

A violent miscarriage of justice and an assault on everyone that uses email.

Which reminds me, anyone know the judges email address? I'm guessing he's a dinosaur that cant use email though - profit motive or no, I have a hard time believing anyone that actually uses it would make such an idiotic decision.

With friends like these (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179213)

Who needs enemies?

People do this for Faxes too (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179217)

The anti-spam-fax law allows for individuals to sue for damages and so many people have set up fax lines and started collecting faxes and collecting money. I don't know if that is still going on or not, but I heard some people made it a full-time living.

The CAN SPAM act is another problem in that individuals are not allowed to sue. The ISPs are the ones who are eligible for that. This part of the law needs to change. While allowing individuals to sue might be a bit too much for some litigation-happy individuals to resist, I think it might be fair enough to allow domain holders and mail hosts to sue under the CAN SPAM act. I say this because I own three domains and would be happy to file a legal action or two except for the fact that the amount of spam I receive is pretty low at the moment... and by low, I mean one or two every two or three days. (Thank you greylisting! Say that "it won't work" all you like, but the results speak differently.)

Should setting up shop in order to take advantage of a law against spamming be allowed? HELL YES it should! The opposite is certainly true and acceptable -- for business to have laws written to their advantage. Is the a provision in the CAN SPAM act that says you can't do this? Is there any law, federal or state, that says you can't do this? The bottom line is that someone set up a "honey net" for profit via the judicial system. Perhaps its the perceived abuse of the judicial system that is the issue?

Re:People do this for Faxes too (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179521)

Should setting up shop in order to take advantage of a law against spamming be allowed? HELL YES it should!

I agree. And, if Mr. Gordon had actually set up shop as a mom-and-pop ISP he probably would have gotten away with it. Alas, he forgot that if he wants to be taken for a duck, calling himself a duck isn't enough; he has to waddle like a duck and quack like a duck, neither of which he did.

Re:People do this for Faxes too (5, Interesting)

flonker (526111) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179661)

I wonder if a "real" ISP would be able to partner with a spam-fighter to allow them to fight the good fight. I'm sure within half a dozen phone calls, you'd fine one that was willing to lend you their name. I'd suggest looking at the list of registered ISPs at the Copyright office - http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp/list/index.html [copyright.gov] as they're likely to have all of the other bases covered already.

Re:People do this for Faxes too (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179703)

I wonder if a "real" ISP would be able to partner with a spam-fighter to allow them to fight the good fight.

Why not? Just hire the spam fighter as a consultant to "look into" the problem of spam and to both suggest and implement policies designed to reduce the company's spam-load.

Re:People do this for Faxes too (2, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179783)

Should setting up shop in order to take advantage of a law against spamming be allowed? HELL YES it should! The opposite is certainly true and acceptable -- for business to have laws written to their advantage. Is the a provision in the CAN SPAM act that says you can't do this? Is there any law, federal or state, that says you can't do this? The bottom line is that someone set up a "honey net" for profit via the judicial system. Perhaps its the perceived abuse of the judicial system that is the issue?

Well, either that or the fraudulent court filings where the guy claimed he was an ISP, but he wasn't. If you seek to use a "honey net" in the judicial system, you have to make sure you're acting completely above board.

The CAN SPAM act is another problem in that individuals are not allowed to sue. The ISPs are the ones who are eligible for that. This part of the law needs to change. While allowing individuals to sue might be a bit too much for some litigation-happy individuals to resist, I think it might be fair enough to allow domain holders and mail hosts to sue under the CAN SPAM act.

Also, this is an interesting thing I'd like to point out. You're in favor of suing spammers, but are opposed to litigation-happy individuals doing it, because... we'd have to read about all those spammers facing trials on Slashdot? Seriously, why? It seems, from your reference to "litigation-happy individuals" and suggestion that it be limited to people in your situation, your primary complaint is that some people might make money for their time and efforts suing spammers, and that those people aren't you. This is a bit disingenuous.

Re:People do this for Faxes too (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179839)

I have mixed feelings on the whole thing. And frankly, if it weren't for the fact that I'm not getting that much spam I'd probably be trying the same sort of thing... if it were allowed and I'm not entirely sure that's not the case.

But we know that "he should lose because he's a troll" doesn't usually win the argument. We see this with patent, copyright and trademark trolls all the time. Perhaps it would have helped if the plaintiff filed in a certain East Texas court...

Re:People do this for Faxes too (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181499)

Also, this is an interesting thing I'd like to point out. You're in favor of suing spammers, but are opposed to litigation-happy individuals doing it, because... we'd have to read about all those spammers facing trials on Slashdot? Seriously, why? It seems, from your reference to "litigation-happy individuals" and suggestion that it be limited to people in your situation, your primary complaint is that some people might make money for their time and efforts suing spammers, and that those people aren't you. This is a bit disingenuous.

The reason I would be reluctant to allow individuals to sue spammers is because of all the people who would try to bring a suit for email they signed up for and forgot about (sometimes they might not even have realized they were signing up for it). I'm not entirely sure that would be a bad thing, but we should try more carefully targeted approaches first to see if they work before flooding our courts with this sort of thing.

Re:People do this for Faxes too (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181649)

The reason I would be reluctant to allow individuals to sue spammers is because of all the people who would try to bring a suit for email they signed up for and forgot about (sometimes they might not even have realized they were signing up for it). I'm not entirely sure that would be a bad thing, but we should try more carefully targeted approaches first to see if they work before flooding our courts with this sort of thing.

Why? It's a recession. If people want to flood our courts with cases for which they can't even prove a prima facie case, just charge them court fees and give them summary judgment on the merits. You'll keep a lot of law clerks employed.

Re:People do this for Faxes too (2, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180327)

Should setting up shop in order to take advantage of a law against spamming be allowed? HELL YES it should!

Maybe so, but CAN-SPAM makes specific provisions for who can sue and who can't sue.

Is the a provision in the CAN SPAM act that says you can't do this?

Yes, it says that only "Internet access providers" are allowed to sue for damages, and that they need to illustrate that the damages are the result of the spam and not simply the cost of normal network operation.

Is there any law, federal or state, that says you can't do this?

Many states set up their own anti-spam laws after CAN-SPAM (which CAN-SPAM was specifically trying to preempt), the judge in this case ruled that CAN-SPAM does in fact preempt the Washington State laws that Gordon was also using in the suit.

The bottom line is that someone set up a "honey net" for profit via the judicial system.

Right, and that is specifically what CAN-SPAM was trying to prevent - allowing any private person to sue any company for spam. This is why you must be an ISP to sue, and why you have to show damages directly related to the spam. Congress was afraid that if that provision were left out that it would harm legitimate marketers who would be sued by private people just because they didn't want to receive the marketing (even though it might be legally allowed). So yes, the reason the judge ruled against Gordon is because the judge realized that he set up a honey pot specifically to receive spam so that he could sue over it, and was not in fact a bona fide ISP sustaining actual damages from the spam. It should also be noted that Gordon had 10 other lawsuits pending in the same Washington court alone, and his entire income for 2006/2007 came from settlements and disputes. Apparently his "free email service" at gordonworks.com is also now offline.

Congress did not pass CAN-SPAM to enable people to make a living off of suing other people over advertising. That's what Gordon was doing, and that's why the judge tossed it out.

Re:People do this for Faxes too (1, Interesting)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180509)

You know what? Spam doesn't affect my life. I don't care to sue a spammer any more than I care to sue a homeless man on the subway or the chinese restaurant that slips a menu under my door. It shocks me that this is such a big deal. If everyone ignored it, it would go away.

Re:People do this for Faxes too (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180969)

Thank you greylisting! Say that "it won't work" all you like, but the results speak differently.

I don't think anyone says that greylisting doesn't work because it does. The problem is that it's not a good idea for most email users. There are far too many (poorly configured) mail servers out there that will not attempt a second delivery -- mostly automated systems such as Delta's itinerary mailer, various online retailers, etc. Sure, you could reject their messages out of principle, but that doesn't work in the real world where people expect email delivery to be 100% error-free.

The only "solution" is to maintain a list of senders for which you should allow mail through on the first attempt. The problem with this is that these "broken sender" whitelists are impossible to keep up-to-date which means mail will be lost. Additionally, these lists are posted publicly everywhere online and if a spammer wants to get through the greylisting all they need do is send mail as if it were from one of these broken senders/domains.

The question is why more spammers don't do this. Yes, spammers are evil, but I didn't think the big ones were that stupid.

Re:People do this for Faxes too (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180993)

There is a certain symmetry in getting rid of spammers by subjecting them to a zillion junk suits by people out to make a quick buck.

The unfortunate part is there would probably be too many mailing lists sued by the same idiots that click the report spam button on AOL rather than unsubscribing from the email they opted in to and confirmed. Or would sue their bank, or whatever unfortunate person gets the Joe job that day.

Reminds me ... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179237)

Spammers vs Litigators = Alien vs Predator

Who ever wins, we lose!

Re:Reminds me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29179339)

No really. Aliens will try to use all people as hosts and food, whereas Predators only hunt a minority number for sport.

Re:Reminds me ... (2, Funny)

rawls (1462507) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179527)

I'm safe then. I'm too lazy to be good sport for the Predators and too full of cigarettes to be delicious for the Aliens.

"I'm here to collect your dignity" (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179241)

This poor fella made his living milking the legal system via trickery. Unfortunately for him, collections agencies are more more cut and dry and humorless.

Wait, why 'haha'? (3, Interesting)

improfane (855034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179253)

Wait, why is this tagged 'haha'?

If I understood the summary properly, an anti-spammer's life is being ruined by a spammer?

What the hell? Surely this is a bad thing! Coincidentally, virtumondo is a very nasty piece of Windows adware/spyware too!

Re:Wait, why 'haha'? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29179531)

it's labeled haha because a ton of slashdotters are asshole malcontents who laugh anytime anyone but themselves get the screws. there is a paradox in wanting to rip off the man and wanting what is morally correct at the same time and it leads to a lot of gray areas. not that gray areas are bad but some people who don't fit in anywhere else find a nice cozy home in the gray areas because it allows for cynicism and hypocrisy to co-exist without having to explain yourself.

this is the same reason goosestepping is bad. when it comes right down to it slashdot, for as much as people like to say and think otherwise, has the same demographics as the rest of the world. idiots, assholes and morons abound. there's a very small sliver worth listening to but too many people with too many mod makes people who should be ignored look like wise men.

Re:Wait, why 'haha'? (5, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179743)

Because, like a patent troll, Gordon wasn't trying to eliminate spam, he was trying to profit off laws against spam that might allow him to sue--a professional litigant. There's two ./ hot buttons here: spam and abusing the courts. It's a tale of a bunch of shitty people being shitty each other, and we're the one's footing the bill for the judge who has to oversee it all, and the courtroom and clerks they're using.

Not many ./ers are capable of understanding that sometimes bad people (Gordon) do good things (fight spam) for the wrong reasons (personal profit) at a cost to us all (tying up the court system). It's 'haha' because someone who thought he was gaming the system got busted.

Thank you (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179871)

Thank you for explaining that. I have mod points but cannot mod you up obviously. Your sig is so true, too.

98% of lawyers make the other 2% look bad?

Re:Thank you (2, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180037)

I actually worked with lawyers a couple jobs ago, and found them to be very likable people in general. They're very pragmatic, they tend to have thick skins, and have a very healthy scepticism about everything. And for the vast majority of them, it's simply a job that interests them, not a vocation that consumes them. They're usually the ultimate realists, and don't kid themselves about what they're doing.

So I'd reverse your ratio there, and say 2% of the lawyers make the other 98% look bad. You just don't hear about the ones putting in regular hours, collecting their paychecks, and going home every night.

Re:Thank you (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29181453)

...So I'd reverse your ratio there, and say 2% of the lawyers make the other 98% look bad. You just don't hear about the ones putting in regular hours, collecting their paychecks, and going home every night...

While what you post is undoubtedly true, in the legal profession they are supposed to be regulating each other and eliminating the bad 2% of lawyers (Bar Associations). That doesn't happen. Of the few lawyers disbarred at least half get reinstated in the same or another jurisdiction. Far too high of a percentage of those disbarred are disbarred because they committed felonies, not because of legal misconduct. Pick up one of Richard Abel's books on the legal profession such as American Lawyers or Lawyers in the Dock and read some about these sort of issues.

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29181553)

I concour. However, I will admit I do have a slight tinge of envy. Demand for IT people is cyclical. Demand for law professionals is not going out of business anytime soon. The legal field will never be out of business anytime soon.

Re:Wait, why 'haha'? (3, Interesting)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180289)

Because, like a patent troll, Gordon wasn't trying to eliminate spam, he was trying to profit off laws against spam that might allow him to sue--a professional litigant.

Why do I give a shit if the man profits from it? Good for him. You sound like one of those guys on the freeway who lets nobody merge just because you don't want anybody to get ahead of you. I was not aware that it was a race or competition.

sometimes bad people (Gordon) do good things (fight spam) for the wrong reasons (personal profit) at a cost to us all (tying up the court system)

How is this tying up the court system? I suppose you'd prefer if everybody sued individually, multiplying the case load by thousands of times? I really am not following this logic.

Re:Wait, why 'haha'? (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180363)

What's a Dotslasher?

Re:Wait, why 'haha'? (1)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180955)

cwd

If they do the right thing who cares why? (2, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180817)

Because, like a patent troll, Gordon wasn't trying to eliminate spam, he was trying to profit off laws against spam that might allow him to sue--a professional litigant.

"If it's worth doing, it's worth doing at a profit."

Why shouldn't somebody doing a public service get rewarded for it? ... we're the one's footing the bill for the judge who has to oversee it all, and the courtroom and clerks they're using.

Actually, the payer of the "court costs" is footing the bill. That's what court costs are about.

Not many ./ers are capable of understanding that sometimes bad people (Gordon) do good things (fight spam) for the wrong reasons (personal profit) at a cost to us all (tying up the court system).

That's what the court system is FOR: Penalizing the miscreants for their misbehavior in order to deter it and making them pay for their violations of law and/or harm to others. If it's not doing that why bother to have it?

"Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons" is a bogus concept.

Re:Wait, why 'haha'? (2, Insightful)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181401)

How do you know what Gordon's motives were? I bet he wants more than anything to eliminate spam. You label him a professional litigant, but he's got some serious integrity for a shitty person. I can't believe that standing up against the courts was a calculated decision to maximize personal profit. How does he profit from not settling with an evil party? It's civil disobedience. When the laws are broken, good people will break the laws.

Re:Wait, why 'haha'? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179813)

f I understood the summary properly, an anti-spammer's life is being ruined by a spammer?

Try reading more than the summary:

When Virtumundo's collections lawyer showed up at Gordon's house with a moving van and a sheriff, Virtumundo again offered to stop its pursuit of Gordon's assets if he would drop his appeal, and he refused again, according to Newman.
Virtumundo's collections agency then cleared out Gordon's house, according to Newman.
He added that after seizing the contents of Gordon's home, Virtumundo offered to return Gordon's belongings if he would drop his appeal and again, Gordon refused.


There are surely ways to protect your assets pending an appeal - but simply ignoring a judgment isn't one of them.

Not that Gordon had a snowball's chance in hell of actually winning on appeal.

Three times he was offered (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180065)

Three times he was offered his possessions back but he said no. He sounds very stubborn. It sounds like they didn't really want to completely screw him over, they were not vengeful.

Re:Three times he was offered (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181279)

This guy is not quite right in the head.

Re:Wait, why 'haha'? (1)

Angeliqe (1390757) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180975)

Was the tag changed? I see !haha which to a computer programmer like me, ! means not (when in front of the word like != means not equal to). So !haha means not funny.

How ironic (2, Funny)

JamJam (785046) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179269)

Having lost nearly all his worldly possessions James Gordon, rabid anti-spam fighter, managed to keep his prized can-opener for the cans of spam he will be dining on... nom nom non

Argh, Who to Root For? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179361)

Opportunistic lawyer or spam company? Wait... I'm having an idea! Let's lock them in a room with some bricks and declare the one who makes it out the winner! No matter who loses, we're sure to win!

Re:Argh, Who to Root For? (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179447)

This is indeed a real dilemma... both of them ask for contention. Both should be guilty.

Can you get me the e-mail of that judge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29179387)

Can you get me the e-mail of that judge?

Why not the same for the MAFIAA? (4, Insightful)

Dr_Art (937436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179553)

Why don't the MPAA/RIAA (MAFIAA) get the same treatment as this lawyer? Of course, this is a rhetorical question...

The title is wrong! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29179685)

James Gordon is not a lawyer.

easy solution to this (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29179747)

if this ever happened to me i'd kill the judge and his family

Correcting spammers business plan (0)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29179753)

1. Send spam
2. ???
3. Profit!

Now we know what goes in the 2nd point

You can lead a horse to water... (0, Troll)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180691)

but you can't make him piss. The jackass had numerous chances to settle and he just wouldn't do it. Whether out of spite or principal I dunno but he's without his stuff. Bottom line: Wadda maroon.

Re:You can lead a horse to water... (3, Insightful)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181447)

The jackass had numerous chances to settle and he just wouldn't do it.

Maybe he has something called PRINCIPLES.

whether it's abusing or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29180699)

I hate to see a spammer screwing up a spam-fighter's life - even if whether the spam fighting is for personal gain.

I'd say, set up a fund to pay this $110K. Who's in?

Extortion? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29180909)

According to TFA, the spammer offered three times (at judgment, at collection, and after seizure) to drop the judgment or return the possessions if the anti-spammer would drop his appeal.

If I understand the law correctly, by doing so the spammer committed extortion.

IANAL. Could somebody who IAL comment please?

Re:Extortion? (1)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181195)

IANAL. I thought extortion involved threatening to make it worse for someone if they don't hand over their stuff, not offering to let them keep it (what the court granted you permission to take) if they'll stop trying to make it worse for you...

Re:Extortion? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 4 years ago | (#29181473)

According to TFA, the spammer offered three times (at judgment, at collection, and after seizure) to drop the judgment or return the possessions if the anti-spammer would drop his appeal.

If I understand the law correctly, by doing so the spammer committed extortion.

IANAL. Could somebody who IAL comment please?

IANAL

However, as I understand it, that general type of situation being legally considered "extortion" typically only applies if the "extort-er" is some normal everyday person or small business, and the "extort-ee" is a major political campaign contributor or otherwise is, or is connected to, those with financial and/or political power.

HTH HAND

Strat

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