Re: Spam

Michael S. Lorrey (
Wed, 03 Feb 1999 08:32:43 -0500

Randall Randall wrote:

> It's been rumored that on Tue, 02 Feb 1999, NetSurfer wrote:
> >presence/speech upon them. Your right to free speech does not give you
> >the right to use someones private line to make your calls.
> But no one can use your private line, nor spam you, without one of two
> things: your consent, or a physical breach of your property. One of these
> is properly illegal, the other may not be yet, and *should* not be.

Which? People should be able to breach your property any time they want? Or they should have your consent any time they want (in which case it would no longer be your consent, but theirs)?

> >If you are such a fan of free speech, how would you like it if someone
> >started faxing you 20 page documents every day, eating up your paper, your
> >toner, and tying up your fax line?
> Obviously, it would be my responsibility, if I was concerned, not to
> let that person use my fax machine. I would not push for a law
> regarding what the spammer did with *his* machine. There are ways
> to deal with this problem other than initiating force.

No there are not, or there would be products on the market to prevent this. Nor is the spammer just using 'his' machine. In order for his message to reach me, he must also use 'my' machine in a manner which I do not wish him to use it.

> >Another example: shouldn't your definition of the right to free speech
> >mean that you can submit articles to the New York Times and force them to
> >print it lest they be infringing on your right to free speech? Or is the
> >New York Times a private organization which has the right to decide how
> >their resources are used?
> ....even if it consists of printing advertising which is offensive? After
> all, you might choose to buy it. If you do, and find an advertisment
> inside (and this offends you), should you attempt to make it illegal
> for them to print any more ads, or just choose not to buy any more
> NY Times?

If you've bought it, then you've paid for the cost of transmission (the price you pay for a newspaper is usually only 10-15% of the actual cost of the paper). If you want ad free papers, expect to pay 8-10 times more for them.

> >Again, spam is NOT a free speech issue - it is about transfer of cost
> >of advertising. Spam is like having telemarketers call you collect and
> >you not be able to hang up until the telemarketer is done and you not be
> >able to refuse the long distance charge. THAT is what spam does. It
> >makes
> everyone *except* the crook/spammer pay for the advertisement.
> I dunno about you, but I "hang up" by pressing DEL long before the
> ad is done. What charge? Are you charged per byte? I agree that
> the spammer should pay for what he sends, but *everyone* should.

Ultimately you ARE charged per byte, since your ISP is charged for his bandwidth, which breaks down into a specific number of bytes per day. He passes these costs on to you, so if your bandwidth is being wasted by more spammers, your internet connect costs are going to go up. This is why it is estimated that the average internet user pays around $3.00 per month extra because of spam.

> >Right now less an one percent of the businesses on the net spamvertise,
> >and you probably see a handful of spam a day or week. Now imagine that
> >jumps to 10 percent because of laws passed to *protect* the spammers,
> Let me state that I am in favor of no laws to "protect" spam, either.
> >The spammers killed usenet and will kill email itself if they are not
> >stopped. And if all you do is delete it, you are helping them do so.
> This is ridiculous. I read news from usenet every day, and I've
> not noticed any "death". There may be some groups that are
> flooded with spam, but this could be solved by the simple
> expedient of charging to *accept* mail or news. The cost could
> be trivial by most standards, yet quite high for spammers (at
> least on a level with junk mail).

And how would you enforce this rule without government laws which force people to pay? You are just moving the focus of force from where it belongs, on spammers, to the users.

Mike Lorrey