[Politech] Appeals court protects ISP's right to boot suspected spammer [sp]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Thu Jan 27 2005 - 20:34:03 PST


A federal appeals court has ruled that EarthLink was within its rights 
to disconnect a customer who it incorrectly believed to be spamming.

EarthLink pulled the plug on independent film producer Peter Hall's 
account in August 1997 after receiving a report from UUNet, its network 
provider, that Hall was sending out bulk junk e-mail. Realizing its 
mistake about a week later, EarthLink offered a public retraction and 
forwarded Hall about 16 e-mail messages that had accumulated in his 
account during that time.

It's unclear what happened next--each side accuses the other of being 
unwilling to reconnect the account--but EarthLink ended up accepting 
e-mail messages to Hall's account and quietly storing them in a mail 
spool rather than bouncing them as undeliverable. Hall sued EarthLink 
for $2 million in July 1998, charging that the initial disconnection was 
unlawful, and that the missed e-mail resulted in his low-budget film, 
"Delinquent," becoming a flop.

[...remainder snipped...]
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