Eric Thomas wrote:
> Obviously AOL is free to stop accepting Internet mail. The problem is
> that AOL has been singling out a number of companies, and rejecting any
> and all mail coming from them. What you would say if MSN did not accept
> e-mail from companies selling products that compete with MS's? Would you
> still say they never agreed to accept this mail in the first place?
Yes. That's how a free market works.
Now, if MSN did that, it would quickly become a laughingstock of an ISP,
and their action might be construed as violating their customer
agreement to provide Internet access, but that's a private contract
matter between MSN and its customers, and I don't see how a third party
has standing to contest it.
I haven't read the court papers in the AOL case, but it sounds like the
trial judge, in granting the TRO or preliminary injunction, has badly
misunderstood how the Internet works and it looks like he or she has
been bamboozled into thinking that AOL's inbound blocking somehow cuts
off the spammers' general Internet access. As a matter of law, AOL
should prevail on the merits.
Having said that, I don't think blanket inbound blocking by ISPs is a
good policy, except with prior notice to and consent of the customer.
Providing tools for users to block messages by origin or content is a
much better solution, and apparently it is in the works.
Michael C. Berch
com / mcb @