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12 Jan 2011
Last September MySpace sued ur-spammers Sanford "Spamford" Wallace and Walt "Pickle Jar" Rines for egregious violations of CAN SPAM. After some early skirmishes involving an expert for Wallace so unqualified that the judge threw out his testimony, Wallace and Rines stopped responding, so as was widely reported, earlier this week the court granted a default judgement. Since they sent a lot of spam, the statutory damages came to an enormous $235 million. Even for Spamford, that's a lot of money.
Wallace also has a long history of losing and not paying, so I would be surprised if MySpace (who got over $2 million from theglobe.com, the largest collected CAN SPAM penalty I know of) gets more than a few pennies out of him. Perhaps he'll play legal whack-a-mole, pop up somewhere, the sheriff grabs all his cash, repeat indefinitely.
In his blog Wallace claims, not too credibly, that he was never served in this case, and slightly more credibly, that MySpace hired him to spam for them early in their history. But that was a long time ago.
A few people have noted the $4 million in attorneys fees awarded, and have concluded that this case will have cost MySpace far more than they'll ever recover. But if you look at the actual order, that amount is calculated by a formula based on the amount of the award. Given the modest amount of lawyering, I would be amazed if the costs were more than a few hundred thousand, and in any event, the publicity should be invaluable to MySpace to deter the next VoiceGlo.
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