A Better Idea In The Spamhaus Case - InformationWeek

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Commentary
10/22/2006
09:14 PM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
Commentary
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A Better Idea In The Spamhaus Case

Last week I wrote in this space that "The Spamhaus-e360Insight Case Isn't Just One Bad Decision, It's Several." The worst of them all was the plaintiff's proposal that the judge order ICANN to pull Spamhaus.org's domain name, which promised to precipitate what some were calling a "constit

Last week I wrote in this space that "The Spamhaus-e360Insight Case Isn't Just One Bad Decision, It's Several." The worst of them all was the plaintiff's proposal that the judge order ICANN to pull Spamhaus.org's domain name, which promised to precipitate what some were calling a "constitutional crisis" for the Internet. I'm happy to report that federal judge Charles Kocoras had a better idea: He denied the plaintiff's motion.Judge Kocoras issued an order on Thursday denying e360Insight's motion. Such a remedy would also cut off all lawful online activities of Spamhaus, he noted, relief that was too broad to be warranted. He also ruled that since there was no indication that either ICANN or Tucows, the registrar for the Spamhaus.org domain, acted in concert with Spamhaus, it was inappropriate to make them parties to the case.

What I find especially interesting in this is that it seems to leave Judge Kocoras without any good way of enforcing his $11.7M judgment against Spamhaus--which would seem to bolster Spamhaus chief Steve Linford's original assertion that the judge lacked jurisdiction to hear the case, at least from a practical point. But then, given what's happening in other areas of the law, like patents and copyright, what's practical and what's legal seem to have less and less relationship to each other.

There are still more shoes to drop in the case, and ultimately the Internet community needs to find a way to help Linford clarify the legality of Spamhaus' actions in blacklisting spammers, because despite what e360Insight might claim, there is such a thing as spam, people don't want it, and Spamhaus plays an important role in helping them kill it.

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