New word: Spamigation

Spamigation: The abuse of bulk legal action. Filing lawsuits in bulk (as in the RIAA filesharing lawsuits or DirecTV smartcard lawsuits) without taking care to assure all defendants are actually at fault. As such, some defendants are bound to be entirely innocent, but this doesn't matter because you don't really plan to take any to trial.

Can also be used for threats of legislation, when sending out cease and desist and other threatening letters is bulk, because it's easier to bulk threaten than to research. Possible alternate spelling: Spammigation.

Spitigation?

I was at the CPF's session on the Direct TV suits, and some of the key issues there are not only the "bulk" nature of the lawsuits, but that they are target to individuals in a way that is difficult for them to defend themselves using our legal system.

First they threaten with a settlement letter for $3500 -- this amount is targeted such that it is less expensive then probably what the cheapest attorney can be hired for.

Next, they file lawsuits based on only two facts, you purchased a DirectTV hacking product at some time in the past, and that you refused to settle. They don't have to prove that you ever used the equipment to illegally use DirectTV service -- you may have decided not to use it, or were studying the electronics, or some other non-infringing use, and it doesn't matter.

Next, you can't take the Fifth -- in civil courts refusing to testify under the Fifth Amendment as an admission to guilt.

Last, you can't recover court costs from DirectTV if you win (unless you are in Florida and it is filed in Florida courts, so DirectTV files in Federal for Florida lawsuits). The statutes they file under don't have loser compensation.

The key issues to me is that as we move into a "trusted computing" and "DRM" world, having as acceptable social precedent that confiscation of individual property, suits against individuals that they can't defend, and mere act of possession being illegal, are bad for us as a society.

I don't think this is only a law issues -- I think it is a social issue. We should not allow companies to take advantage of the law to target individuals in a way that they can't defend.

I agree Mr. Allen, the big guys going after the little guy en masse is beyond spam, which implies that it's mereley a nuisance...it's more akin to drift-net fishing. Spamigation immediately brings to my mind something like the SCO circus - hitting all the deep pockets you can find.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

His name is Brad Templeton. You figure it out.
Please make up a name if you do not wish to give your real one.
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Personal home pages only. Posts with biz home pages get deleted and search engines ignore all links
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options