Spam-Fighters Legal Defense Fund
Legal Defense Fund for Spam SLAPP Suits
Although not often concerned with the legality of their business methods, spammers frequently use the legal system as a weapon when it suits their purposes. One of the techniques used by spammers is to file SLAPP lawsuits against those who fight spam. If you're someone who actively works to protect the internet from spam, it's inevitable that you will be threatened with lawsuits on a regular basis. From time to time, a spammer will carry out his threats and actually file a lawsuit. Perhaps the most famous such lawsuit was the one filed against Spamhaus by EMarketersAmerica.org, led by Florida attorney Mark Felstein.
The Spam-Fighters Legal Defense Fund exists to provide support for those spam-fighters who find themselves under attack by SLAPP lawsuit. SFLDF provides legal referrals and financial aid to help defray legal costs.
The Spam-Fighters Legal Defense Fund was created to help Individual spam-fighters who find themselves in similar circumstances. Legal counsel has already been obtained in the ongoing cases, but all this costs money. You can help by donating to the fund.
Our Current cases:
Sierra vs Ritz
Jerry Reynolds, filing under the name "John Doe" sued spam-fighter Edward Falk for defamation for calling him a spammer. (See Fargo Forum article "Porn spam allegation brings suit".) This suit was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
In addition, Reynolds' business, "Sierra Corporate Designs", brought suit against spam-fighter David Ritz (naming Falk as co-defendant). Ritz is charged with doing unauthorized whois and dns lookups.
While the case is clearly without merit, fighting it in court is expensive. Legal expenses are already into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Linhardt vs Spamhaus et al
Dave Linhardt, CEO of E360insight has filed suit against The Spamhaus Project, an anti-spam organization, and a number of other anti-spam activists. Currently, Spamhaus has sufficient resources to fight this case on their own.
SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. It is a form of litigation filed in order to intimidate or silence a critic with limited resources.
The intent is not to win on the legal merits, but to severely burden the less-powerful critic with legal costs to the point where they are forced to abandon their public criticism.
Perhaps the most famous SLAPP lawsuit was the McLibel case, in which two environmental protestors were dragged through a seven-year court case by McDonald's for distributing pamphlets on the street.
In California, and 24 other states there are laws protecting citizens from such lawsuits, but there is no equivalent federal law. Even if you are subject to a SLAPP lawsuit in a state with protection, it still costs money and time to defend yourself.
"[Spammers] have come to court not because their freedom of
speech is threatened but because their profits are; to dress up their
complaints in First Amendment garb demeans the principles for which
the First Amendment stands."
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