We’ve all heard of AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Earthlink. And Aunty has noted many times on these pages the lawsuits which they have each, and together, instituted against spammers over the course of this past year. Good on ya, says Aunty.
But it isn’t just big, well-known ISPs who can bring legal action against spammers (indeed, Aunty believes that anyone who runs their own mailserver can qualify to sue spammers under CAN-SPAM, wailings and gnashing of teeth against to the contrary).
Robert Kramer, who works for an unidentified Iowa organization (although sources say that it is related to local law enforcement), brought a lawsuit on his company’s behalf against a total of 300 spammers who were spamming his server to the tune of as much as 10million pieces of spam a day back in 2000 (the server provides email for his company to about 5000 users).
When all was said and done, the judge awarded Kramer damages from three particularly prolific spammers: AMP Dollar Savings, Inc. of Mesa, Arizona; Cash Link Systems, Inc., of Miama, Florida; and TEI Marketing Group, also of Florida.
And, to the tune of $1billion! This is without exception the highest award for damages against spammers of which Aunty has heard.
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AMP Dollar Savings was ordered to pay Kramer a cool $720 million, while Cash Link Systems was ordered to pay $360 million, and TEI Marketing a measly $140,000. (The actions against the rest of the 300 defendants are still ongoing.)
Now, how did they arrive at those figures? First, Iowa has an anti-spam law which permits damages of $10.00 per piece for spam email. Secondly, Kramer sought and received treble damages under RICO, as the spam crossed state lines.
It’s also of note that nobody appeared on behalf of the defendants, meaning that there is a good chance this was actually a default judgement. Which means that Kramer got whatever he asked for without opposition – because there was no opposition.
And therein lies the rub. The reason why nobody appeared on behalf of the defendants is probably because the defendants didn’t care, and couldn’t be bothered to appear. And the reason that they didn’t care is because the reality is that Kramer is unlikely to collect on these judgements. Even his attorney, Kelly Wallace, admits that collection is unlikely, and that they just hope that they can get enough to cover his expenses.
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That said, Aunty is aware of lawsuits against spammers in which the spammers did in fact have tangible assets, such as real estate and luxury cars. And these can be levied against. So you never know. Let’s hope that Kramer can prove to these guys that, in the end, crime does not pay.
No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!
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