Venkat Balasubramani: Portrait of a Lawyer Turned Anti-Spammer

Let's talk about Dan Balsam, lawyer turned anti-spam crusader. I've been glibly telling friends and colleagues that this guy is my hero, but Venkat Balasubramani rightly asks some important questions: Is he actually collecting on judgments? And what about his recent loss in the 9th Circuit?

I'm really torn on that 9th Circuit loss. Tucows allowed the domain registrant to utilize a privacy protect service, obscuring the true owner of a domain. Balsam went after Tucows, claiming harm due to obscuring of the true owner of the domain. On one hand, I think the registrar does bear some responsibility for actions taken by the user of a given domain, as they're effectively listing themselves as the domain's owner in WHOIS. On the other hand, the court doesn't agree, and Venkat rightly points out that Balsam failed to take advantage of an obvious solution -- he should have issued a subpoena seeking the registrant information.

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