1997-06-14 - Re: This is NOT trespassing.

Header Data

From: tzeruch@ceddec.com
To: cypherpunks@Algebra.COM
Message Hash: 272dab77318b5ddcabec6f2226060376179e14377e6e10b1102afe360a1ed637
Message ID: <97Jun14.151138edt.32257@brickwall.ceddec.com>
Reply To: <199706141643.MAA001.36@butternut.nist.gov>
UTC Datetime: 1997-06-14 19:15:40 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 03:15:40 +0800

Raw message

From: tzeruch@ceddec.com
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 03:15:40 +0800
To: cypherpunks@Algebra.COM
Subject: Re: This is NOT trespassing.
In-Reply-To: <199706141643.MAA001.36@butternut.nist.gov>
Message-ID: <97Jun14.151138edt.32257@brickwall.ceddec.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

On Sat, 14 Jun 1997 cypherpunks@Algebra.COM wrote:

(curiously the author gave the above return address, but since it is more 
or less on-topic)

> Did you pay for your TV?  Do you buy electricity by the KWH?
> Pay a monthly cable bill?  If so, then why isn't a television 
> commercial considered theft of your televised resources?

I can choose to pay extra for commercial-free channels.  The commercials
are added by the broadcasters, and I can choose which broadcasters I
watch.  I can also rent commercial free videotapes.  Don't confuse paying
for a Media Player with payment for (or commercial subsidy of) Media.

> Doesn't it cost something to ride the bus?  Then why aren't
> the public transport's advertisers guilty of stealing your
> wallspace?

The PTA is stealing my money since I don't ride the bus, but I am forced
to pay taxes to support it.  I would be willing to end the government
monopoly on public transportation, and offer both ad-free and ad-bearing
jitneys with a price per ride reflective of the difference in cost.

> What about newspapers, magazines, radio stations, going to
> the movies, driving on any road, almost any PAID activity in
> life?  Each has its attendent advertisments and commercials.

Again, my newspaper or magazine is free to offer an ad-free version at a
different price.  I subscribe to several newsletters which are completely
without advertisement.  Again, it is my choice.

You forgot to mention books.  I didn't notice any ads between the pages of
the last three I read - something must be wrong or left unexploited.

> We PAY for an enormous percentage of solicitations.  Everyday.

No, Media suppliers make decisions whether to sell pure media, or media
with ads, and it is their strategy to maximize profit.  I "pay" for the
ads by not paying extra for the media.

Advertisements in public spaces are a form of speech.  It does not invade
my space (though here billboards are taxed) - I go into a space where
speech occurs, it doesn't invade my space.


Because I am not contracting with anyone for a reduced cost for an email
box with advertisements (FYI there are services with email addresses for
"free" that also tack on ads to messages).  My email box is not part of
the public space, merely connected to it.

I don't object to web pages with ads (closer to the above examples) - it
is the author's choice whether or not to have ads, and my choice whether
or not to go to the web page.  (I would object to pages constructed so as
to display only an ad first, then redirect me to the actual content I

Why should AIR be different?  Why should I not be able to drive a car that
belches toxic fumes, and build a plant that pollutes the air - it is just
as much my "public" air, as it is yours, and you will have to pay for my
activities with only a little of your health.

The Spammer is not part of the transaction between me and my ISP, but
pollutes my space with something I don't want.

You are not part of the transaction between the automaker and myself, nor
between me and the customers of my plant, so why should you have a say
even though my polluted air would invade your space?  Close your door and
buy a HEPA filter if you don't like it.  It is the same type of problem
(an externality in economic terms).

> Fact is, it isn't.  Nor will it ever be.  When you make any
> contact in public via any media or communication form, there
> will come invitations, solicitations, possibly vexations and
> the like.  It's one of the prices we must pay in order to be
> able to communicate at all.  

I don't think there should be a law, but if I have have a property right
in my email account, but enforcement is difficult or spotty, I can attempt
to initiate a boycott of the ISP and NSP as I might do with a socially
irresponsible company which endangers me by polluting the air.  If I don't
have such a right, then neither does the email accounts of the ISP and NSP
of the spammer, and they can decide whether or not to supply network
services to the spammers and live with the problems the counterspamming
will create for them, just as I have to live with the spam.

As a specific example:  If AGIS fails to control cyberpromo (for now they
seem to be succeeding), then if everyone forwards spam to
everyone@agis.net (the email scanners work both ways), at some point it
will cost more to agis to deflect the counterspam (and complaints on their
toll-free lines) than the money it gets from cyberpromo, and other
customers using AGIS could be encouraged to drop them and choose a more
"responsible" carrier, or agis can be deleted from routing tables.  They
will either have to insure cyberpromo acts responsibly or stop being their

This will not eliminate the problem, but will make it uneconomic in most
cases to spam - if the account is almost instantly cancelled, the only
response would be a mailing address or phone number, and most people won't
call (unless it is toll free), and most people won't print out the form,
so the cost of the spam will exceed any profits generated, and thus it
will stop.

No government need get involved.