1997-05-22 - Re: spam is a good thing (was Re: Spam IS Free Speech)

Header Data

From: Kent Crispin <kent@songbird.com>
To: cypherpunks@algebra.com
Message Hash: 56db7c302adb035786782a2acb5f6e590a1814cee579f89b7c60690983f1b0e0
Message ID: <19970522144701.16280@bywater.songbird.com>
Reply To: <199705221633.RAA01999@server.test.net>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-22 22:03:47 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 06:03:47 +0800

Raw message

From: Kent Crispin <kent@songbird.com>
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 06:03:47 +0800
To: cypherpunks@algebra.com
Subject: Re: spam is a good thing (was Re: Spam IS Free Speech)
In-Reply-To: <199705221633.RAA01999@server.test.net>
Message-ID: <19970522144701.16280@bywater.songbird.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

On Thu, May 22, 1997 at 03:07:14PM -0500, Willaim H. Geiger III wrote:
>I as the owner of
>certain computer equipment have the right to determin who uses such
>equipment and how. It should be no different that my right to determin who
>can enter my house and who can not.

Your analogy is flawed in many ways.  1) The entities entering your 
house have an identity; what is actually entering your computer 
equipment is just bits, which have no identity.  Spamfords bits are 
no different than anyone elses.  2) By the very act of connecting to 
the network you agree to recieve any bits that are automatically 
routed to you.

>If I inform Spamford that he is not
>welcome in my house and he still insists on comming in I should have some
>recource to stop him.

You are perfectly free to disconnect your computer from the net.  You
are free to try to find a provider that guarantees not to pass any
spam on to you.  But unless you have some contract with your provider
that specifies special rights, when you sign up you implicitly agree
to accept the bits aimed at you -- otherwise you couldn't receive any
email at all.  What you get on the wire is a function of explicit and
implicit contractual obligations.  This is true whether you are UUNET
peering with ANS or whether you are a PC on a dialup line.

>IMHO this can be taking care of through civil courts hitting the spamers
>where it counts in the wallet. As far as identification this is quite
>simple to do without the above measure.

Identification isn't the problem at all.  The problem is that you 
have no grounds on which to base a suit.  Just as you can't sue me for 
sending this mail -- it's an exchange you entered into of your own 
free will.

 Even if Spamford uses tricks to
>cover his tracks his clients are known as they tell you who they are in
>their spam. Traceing back to Cyber-Momo is trivial once his clients are
>known. IMHO when Compu$erve suied Spamford thay should have listed all of
>his customers in the lawsuit.
>>Yeah but he didn't kick anything in, he just used something which was
>>setup to be used for free, in an unmetered fashion, where no contracts
>>were agreed to before hand.
>No it was not. Just because you leave a door unlocked does not mean that
>anyone has the right to enter. If you run into the store and forget to
>lock the doors on your car does that mean that anyone has the right to
>drive off in your car? If you leave the front door unlocked on your house
>does that mean that anyone can walk in and help themselfs to the contents
>of your house?

All flawed analogies.  You *did* agree to recieve mail -- in fact, 
that is one of the primary uses of your computer -- and you did *not* 
place any restrictions on that connection.  Furthermore, you can't -- 
no one will sell you an internet connection at any level where they 
will accept a contractual obligation to keep spam from getting to you.


>I never have argued for more legislation of the internet for any reason. I
>just think that creative use of current laws can put an end to this
>pestilance. I don't see remailers being hurt in this as the whole purpose
>of spam is to be non-anonymous (you can't sell anything if they don't know
>where to send the money to). I do think that litigation can be used
>effectivly to put an end to Spamford without changing the current
>structure of the internet.

I don't see any legal basis for it. 

Kent Crispin				"No reason to get excited",
kent@songbird.com			the thief he kindly spoke...
PGP fingerprint:   B1 8B 72 ED 55 21 5E 44  61 F4 58 0F 72 10 65 55