FC: Make money fast! -- By trapping spammers with trespass charges

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Wed Nov 21 2001 - 20:32:38 PST

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    Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 16:31:03 -0500
    To: declanat_private, politechat_private
    From: "Robert L. Ellis" <rellis@internet-attorneys.com>
    Subject: Re: FC: Spammer-mocking critic replies to Politech posts
    Cc: mfraaseat_private
    In-Reply-To: <>
    For any politechnicals who have the energy and time to fight spammers (I 
    don't -- I gave up), as an attorney I can suggest a refinement of Michael 
    Fraase's tactic.
    1.  Identity the spammer and notify them that they no longer have 
    permission to use your bandwidth, time, email server, etc. unless they 
    accept your terms and conditions:  payment of $$$.
    2.  Notify them that they may accept your terms and conditions by 
    continuing to send spam.
    3.  Notify them that if they reject your terms and conditions -- which few 
    spammers will bother doing -- all further spam will constitute trespass to 
    chattel (the legal basis successfully used by big ISPs to pursue major 
    The above steps create a contractual basis (offer and acceptance) for the 
    invoice, and eliminate free-speech issues.  The following is the text of a 
    letter which accomplishes this.  I'm placing this text in the public domain.
      - - - - - - -
    ______________ has sent or caused to be sent one or more unsolicited 
    commercial email ("UCE" or "spam'") messages to an email address at the 
    **** domain name.  Your spam was not sent in response to any request for 
    information.  Spam is an annoyance and takes up our valuable time, 
    bandwidth, server space, and computer hard drive space.  Effective 
    immediately, your further use for commercial purposes of any e-mail address 
    ending with any of our domain names:  [domain name list]  constitutes your 
    agreement to the following terms and conditions:
    1.      Each time you send UCE to our e-mail address, you agree to pay a 
    usage fee of one thousand dollars ($1000.00) within 30 days of our invoice, 
    payable to _______________________.  This fee is deliberately high because 
    we do not want to spend our time and bandwidth dealing with UCE unless we 
    are paid to do so.  You will be invoiced on a monthly basis and agree to 
    pay interest at the rate of eighteen percent (18%) per annum on any balance 
    which remains unpaid for more than thirty (30) days.
    2.      You agree to accept service of process in [name your state] as well 
    as the jurisdiction of [same state] courts for the enforcement of this 
    3.      You agree to pay the costs of collection, including reasonable 
    attorney fees, even if the cost of collection exceeds the usage fee.
    This message constitutes an offer which you may accept by sending 
    commercial email or causing it to be sent to any email address at any of 
    the above-listed domains.  If you notify us that you do not agree to these 
    conditions, then you do not have permission to send UCE to any of the 
    above-listed domains; your doing so without permission will constitute 
    trespass to chattel and will be pursued by legal action.
    - - -
    Ellis Venable & Busam LLP
    33 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215-3076
    +1 614.221.2422 phone   221.5244 fax
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