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Monday, May 06, 2002

Stirring The Legal Pot The Internet acts like spring cleaning for hoary legal doctrines, which must be pulled of the shelf, dusted off and looked at anew to see if they still fit this context. Several current articles illustrate the point: The Georgia Internet libel case discussed on The case considers whether someone "involuntarily drawn into a controversy" becomes a public figure for defamation purposes, and whether online retractions are equivalent to print ones. [Case Over Internet Insults Spurs Court's Interest] The InfoWorld article about the Pavlovich decision pending before the California Supreme Court, tying in the ElcomSoft and Yahoo cases as further examples of Web activities forming the basis for jurisdiction in a court far from a party's physical residence or primary place of business. [via llrx] Anita Ramasatry's commentary on FindLaw's Writ about The Constitution And Spam: Is There A Constitutional Right To Send Unsolicited Faxes And Email? Anita notes that most state anti-spam legislation appears Constitutionally sound, especially given the costs and burdens of spam:
"The burdens of spam may be much greater than those of junk faxes, for example. Sending bulk email is incredibly cheap. With a dialup connection and a PC, a spammer can send hundreds of thousands of messages per hour at only a tiny cost per email. Yet every person who receives the spam pays, in reading time, the annoyance of a clogged mailbox, and increased ISP costs."

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