Remember James Gordon? The guy who sued Virtumundo, and lost? If you don't remember, here's some history: Ken Magill laughs at Gordon here. Mickey Chandler talks about it here. Ed Falk talks about how Gordon lost so badly that Virtumundo was awarded legal fees.
But the "best" part? The absolute "best*" thing that could've come of this bad lawsuit? That now, in another lawsuit, Gordon v. Virtumundo was cited by the judge in a summary ruling against an ISP in a CAN-SPAM lawsuit against an alleged spammer.
Thanks, James Gordon. Thanks....for nothing.
Like John Levine, I'm hopeful (and do suspect) that this will be overturned upon appeal. But, regardless-- yuck! Bad case law is apparently like a bad penny -- it just keeps turning up.
Here's some helpful advice to anyone else planning to sue spammers: If you're not really an ISP (i.e. some would call you a "serial litigator", or your "customers" amount to Linux shell logins for your cat and/or your pals on IRC), please don't bother. If you are an ISP, hire a good lawyer, and listen to his or her advice. Don't ignore that advice and go attacking the asylum with a banana in the name of god and NANAE. If you try to sue against common sense, keep in mind that your actions have consequences, and that could include screwing things up for other people who also want to stop spam.
*By best I mean worst, if that's not already obvious by the tone of my post.