It’s a Property Issue, Stupid!

Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Posted in category Uncategorized

Charles Schumer is introducing a bill on regulating spam. Are we not sick of this yet?

Of course, any government regulatory action is always done under the auspices of some set of do-gooder morality actions. Hence the tie-in between spam and porn. But, for some reason, conservatives and libertarians still seem to not quite get it on the spam issue. Two articles on – in the past – heralded spam as being great economic indicators, etc. Of course that’s nuts. One can say to the pro-spam libertarians and Schumer & his merry band of regulatory state cohorts: it’s all about private property stupid! Who cares whether it takes 20 hours or 20 seconds to delete spam: is that even relevant? An ISP’s servers are private property, and email addresses are acquired via contractual agreement. You have no more right to trespass on my server than you do to trespass into my home. Does this lead us to perhaps some obvious libertarian conclusions? Hooray for AOL, Verizon, and Compuserve for taking on these trespassers called spammers.

In France, last year, a French court “ruled on an ISP’s rights in dealing wth spammers. A customer of a Fench ISP brought suit alleging abusive termination. The ISP had terminated the customer’s service after he had sent spam. The court stated that spamming is contrary to the Internet community’s codes of conduct and allowed the ISP to block the customer’s access.” The case was decided on a “code of conduct” ruling as opposed to basic property rights concepts. This, I’m afraid, is where things are heading with the spam issue.

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