TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Maryland Court Gets Tough on Spam

Maryland Court Gets Tough on Spam

Kristen Wyatt (
Fri, 27 Jan 2006 12:23:42 -0600

Md. Court Rules Spam Law Applies to All
By KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press Writer

Annoying e-mails offering home financing deals or other offers can
violate Maryland law, even if they're sent from out of state, a state
appeals court judge ruled.

Court of Special Appeals Judge Sally D. Adkins rejected an argument by
a New York state marketer who said he could not be punished for
violating Maryland law because he had no way of knowing whether his
e-mails would be opened in Maryland.

"This allegation has little more validity than one who contends he is
not guilty of homicide when he shoots a rifle into a crowd of people
without picking a specific target, and someone dies," the judge wrote
in Thursday's ruling.

The ruling overturned a lower court decision that a pioneering 2002
state law to penalize junk e-mail senders was unconstitutional because
it sought to regulate commerce across state lines.

The case began in 2003 when law student Eric Menhart set up a company
to go after illegal spammers. In two months he received more than 80
e-mails from Long Island marketer Joseph M. Frevola. One e-mail listed
the sender as "Exceptional Deals."

Menhart replied to some of the e-mails, but his responses were
returned as undeliverable. At the end of 2003, he sent a message to
Frevola's e-mail company -- First Choice Internet Inc. -- saying Frevola
had violated Maryland's anti-spam law and that Frevola should pay
damages or be sued.

"My client felt like he was being blackmailed," defense lawyer Andrew
Dansicker said.

He said Adkins' ruling could open a door for people to make a living
by extracting damages from e-mail marketers.

Menhart's attorney, Michael Rothman, called Maryland's anti-spam law
an essential tool to keep e-mail functioning. Maryland was one of the
first states to try to control junk e-mail through legislation. Its
2002 law predates the 2004 federal CAN-SPAM Act.

"Part of our goal was to take back the medium of e-mail from spammers
who have really hijacked it," Rothman said.

Dansicker said his client would like to appeal the ruling but that his
company has gone out of business and he may not be able to afford it.

On the Net:


Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at (or)

For more Associated Press news and headlines, please go to:

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: "1-866 Numbers Are Now in Demand"
Go to Previous message: Reuters News Wire: "Vietnam Frees Cyber 'Spy' From Jail"
Next in thread: jtaylor: "Re: Maryland Court Gets Tough on Spam"
May be reply: jtaylor: "Re: Maryland Court Gets Tough on Spam"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page