Re: Spam

Randall Randall (
Wed, 3 Feb 1999 12:39:24 -0500

It's been rumored that on Wed, 03 Feb 1999, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
>Randall Randall wrote:

>> 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)?

You've got to be kidding. A physical breach of your property is illegal. Really. This is as it should be. They should have your consent any time YOU want. I am not sure how you got what you said from what I said-- that is, I am sure that you did not.

>> >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.

The reason that there are no (or few) products on the market to prevent this is that the market was not allowed to solve the problem before laws were passed about it.

>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.

He can only choose to use his machine. If he uses yours, it is because YOU let him. Without coming into your house, he can only affect your fax machine to the precise extent that you are willing to let him do so, which implies consent on your part.

For instance, my fax machine is not usually turned on. I turn it on only when I choose to receive a fax from someone who has notified me that they are sending one. *I* control my fax machine, and others can only use it when I choose.

>> ....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.

What has this to do with it? I agree that papers would cost more, but this is irrelevant to my point.

>> >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

Lessee. Most people pay about $20 for a month of internet. If they are subscribed to a few lists, and use the web, they will see about 3 spams a day in email, and download three or four ad banners with every page the look at on the web. Those 3 spams a day are less than one percent of the total bandwidth that such an average person receives, meaning that at the most, they cost him 20 cents a month. This is trivial. However, I agree that the spammers should pay the costs of their use of bandwidth -- I just disagree that they should be criminally penalized for the lack of "pay as you go" standards on the 'net.

>> 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.

Who forces you to pay your internet provider? If the internet were a pay as you go system, you would pay for *sending*, not receiving. The problem here is that the recipient bears the cost of whatever is sent. If the sender must pay the recipient to receive data (even the most trivial charge would be sufficient), it would hardly affect the costs for most, but would put the "cost of spam" on the spammer. I do not think that this would eliminate spam entirely, but it would allow people who dislike spam to set a high threshold on incoming mail. This would mean that spammers pay exactly what it is worth to the recipient to spam them, and can choose to spam only those who are not bothered much by it, as junk mailers do now.

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