Subject: Anti-Spam Court Decision
Sender: (Larry Kolodney)
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 20:53:53 GMT

Judge Graham of the Southern District of Ohio today issued a preliminary
injunction barring Cyber Promotions from sending unsolicited messages to
CompuServe subscribers on the ground that such messages constituted a
trespass upon CompuServe's proprietary computer equipment.

The 32 page opinion is precedent setting.  AOL had previously obtained
an order which permitted it to block Cyber Promo's mailings, but the
Compuserve opinion prohibits Cyber Promo from sending them in the first
place. More importantly the Court's reasoning is easily adaptable to
spam sent by any party to any ISP's subscribers.  Conceivably, even an
individual could sue a spammer for trespass.

The Court rejected CyberPromo's arguments: (1) that by opening itself up
to the Internet, Compuserve was a common carrier, obligated to carry any
message sent to it; and (2) the first amendment obligated CompuServe to
carry Cyber Promo's mass mailings.

A few factors clearly influenced the Court's decision:

1.      Compuserve had specifically informed Cyber Promo that Cyber Promo was
not authorized to use CompuServe's computer equipment to send its
unsolicited messages to CompuServe subscribers.

2.      Compuserve had attempted to employ filters which Cyber Promo had

3.      Compuserve demonstrated that Cyber Promo's spam was causing it damage
in the form of lost subscribers and lost subscriber good will.