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How To Sue MAPS

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Ultimately, the board of MAPS believes that new laws will need to be created to address the problem of Internet mail abuse. One way to do this is by lobbying legislators, and our allies at CAUCE are working on that angle. Another way to do this is with case law, as was the result of the famous Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973. It's our hope that MAPS can help bring about a similar landmark case and carry it all the way to the Supreme Court where federal case law can result.

Our Main Principle

The principle we wish to see established conclusively is that all communications must be mutually consensual. Although holders of Internet mailboxes give implied consent to receive person-to-person e-mail concerning topics on which they have demonstrated a specific interest, this principle does not carry over to unsolicited bulk e-mail of any kind. Laws have already been enacted against robotic telephone solicitations and junk faxes based on the costs imposed on recipients by these advertising methods.

Holders of Internet mailboxes pay real costs -- money, time and other resources -- for each and every e-mail message they receive. It is immoral not only to force them to pay to receive unsolicited messages, but also to insist that they either manually filter or use special filtering software to avoid reading e-mail they never consented to receive, either implicitly or explicitly.

One way to exercise the right of mutual consent in all communications is to refuse some or all traffic from some other network or networks, at the sole discretion of the refuser, for any reason they deem sufficient, or for no reason at all. This is what the subscribers to the MAPS Realtime Blackhole List (RBL) do, by refusing traffic from all sources we put on our list. If this refusal is found constitutional, then that constitutionality can and will form the basis for other, lower court decisions concerning the refusal of other traffic and ultimately, we hope, other decisions concerning the lack of implied consent to unsolicited bulk e-mail itself.

Threats We've Received

The following organizations have threatened legal action against MAPS in the past. Some of them sound like they are serious and well funded. We list them here, along with pointers to some of the mail we've exchanged with them, in hopes that other organizations with similar interests can see what ground has already been covered and, if they desire, seek common cause with their fellows. The fundamental viewpoint shared by all of these organizations is that they each believe that nonconsensual communications ought not be prevented. If you agree with this viewpoint, then perhaps you should work together with them on a class action lawsuit against MAPS.

Our Legal Defense Fund

We keep on file all offers and pledges of support for our legal defense. If you'd like to be on our list of people we'll inform when and if a lawsuit is ever filed against us, please let us know -- and thanks!

By Paul Vixie and Nick Nicholas, last revised: Feb. 29, 2000.

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Logo design by Al Iverson

MAPS Supporters

MAPS thanks its supporters for making its continuing operations possible. MAPS is particularly grateful to the organizations listed on our Supporters page for their generous support.

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