Re: Spam

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 16:19:34 -0800 (PST)

> Legislation is one part of the solution to ending
> unsolicited commercial/bulk email.

Ironically, most of the "anti-spam" legislation being currently debated in state houses is in fact decidedly /pro/-spam, much of it lobbied for by the DMA (the Deceitful--er, Direct--Marketing Association, who has a much bigger lobby than the ISP industry. Most of it outlaws things like forged headers or mandates use of remove lists while explicitly allowing the act itself, which might otherwise be prosecuted as a tort (either harassment of the recipient or usurpation of thousands of dollars worth of badwidth and disk space for a large ISP).

Let us not make the mistake of thinking that the definitions of trespass in cyberspace are easy to define by analogy to old-world technologies like gates, locks, signs, and such. ALL definitions of tortious acts-- from assault to theft and many more--are matters of degree with lines drawn by consensus, no matter how much we would like there to exist objective definitions for them. Legislation is an appropriate way to codify consensus in matters like this (for example, "no hunting" signs must be a certain size and frequency around a property to have legal effect; certain advertisements are considered a binding offer of contract; noises and smells have to reach a certain level to be considered a nuisance to neighbors; etc.) Without such ways to codify nebulous boundaries, we reach the absurd and well-known "breathing is a trespass" problem of rigid libertarian doctrine.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC