In recent days, there have been two interesting reports about legal rulings in US courts regarding anti-spam laws enacted by individual states. On the one hand, a federal judge in Iowa has handed down a default judgement of $1,000,000,000 in fines against spammers for targeting accounts at a single Iowa ISP. The ruling is based on Iowa's anti-spam law, which allows fines of up to $10 per individual violation. The ISP presented mountains of evidence, based on log files and research into the identities of the spammers which he personally conducted by making purchases and following the money trail.
On the other hand, a state judge in a county court in Maryland has ruled that Maryland's anti-spam law violates the interstate commerce clause of the US constitution. I've long suspected that all state level anti-spam laws would be struck down because of this. If it seems a bit odd that a state judge would make such a ruling when a federal judge didn't, there are two factors that you have to consider. One is that Maryland and Iowa are in two different federal court jurisdictions, so conflicting rulings are simply an indication that the matter ought to be appealed to the US Supreme Court eventually. More importantly, in the Maryland case, the defendant did show up and directly challenged the law on constitutional grounds, whereas in Iowa they didn't show up at all. A federal judge is extremely unlikely to make a pre-emptive ruling on the constitutionality of a law when the defendant doesn't even challenge it. The judge was clearly sending a strong message with his verdict. IMHO, the message he was sending is pretty obvious: "Show up to appeal this!"
Note that neither of these cases were brought under provisions of the federal CAN-Spam act. OTOH, if the defendants in the Iowa case do show up to appeal the ruling, they'll be identifying themselves as prime targets for prosecution under CAN-Spam. Nothing wrong with that :-)
1. Bruce Elgort12/20/2004 12:57:38 PM
Now Rich that's what I call a cowbell. Can you see us using that on MIssissippi Queen at the next jam session? And that hand drum, how about some Santana . Thanks for the pics!
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