Thursday, 11 March 2004
Spam's Tet Offensive
Yesterday, four major email providers teamed up to file CAN-SPAM lawsuits against alleged spammers: America Online, Microsoft, EarthLink, and Yahoo!. They spread the fun around four different states (California, Washington, Georgia, and Virginia) and three different federal circuits (9th, 11th, and 4th, respectively).
Loyal DTM :<| readers know that this is not the first civil lawsuit filed under the CAN-SPAM Act. However, this does appear to be the first well-funded enforcement action and could produce the statutory maximum civil liability award of $1 million per ISP-plaintiff. These well-connected companies might also hand the feds a criminal case on a silver platter, and the defendants are at risk of incurring serious jail time.
I sound like a broken record when I say this, but it will take a high-profile, high-dollar judgment against a spammer before consumers feel the real effect of the CAN-SPAM Act. Words on a page are nice if you are a librarian, but words on a page do not strike fear into the hearts of businessmen until they cause other businessmen to go to prison.