Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1996)

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Subject: Re: AOL free accounts
From: Jered Floyd <jered @ mit . edu>
Date: Fri, 10 May 1996 11:39:34 EDT
To: Eric Thomas <ERIC @ VM . SE . LSOFT . COM>
Cc: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: Your message of "Fri, 10 May 1996 16:41:32 +0200." <199605101451 . HAA03770 @ miles . greatcircle . com>

> I don't think  the $50-100 fee is the right  approach. First off, legally
> you can't charge  the card without the owner's consent.  So, the only way
> you can put the charge in is  if you explicitly mention this in your sign
> up banner and require  the free trial user to agree  to these terms. 

On the contrary, I think it is a very good idea.  Not many people read
all of the license agreement in the first place, but those who do probably
won't be the least bit frightened by a clause specifying that users will
be charged for 'inappropriate use of system resources (e.g. mass
mailing to thousands of Internet addresses)'; or something similar.

> All you  need to do  is add a  warning saying that  any usage of  the AOL
> account for illegal activities or for  spamming will be prosecuted to the
> fullest extent of the law. This won't surprise or shock honest customers,
> in fact  it might even  be good  PR. 

   I think you misunderstand our legal system somewhat.  It would cost
AOL absurd amounts of money to sue one of these spammers; and for
what could they be sued? You mention the 'fullest extent of the law'...
what do you feel applies?  Unless the license agreement specifies that
users will be held responsible for their actions; but then we're back in
the first case with fines.  So, instead of just charging spammers $50,
now AOL should put stronger language in the license, and spend thousands
of dollars _suing_ spammers to collect a $50 fine?

   And even if they were to sue Krazy Kevin, or a similar spammer, I 
don't think that other spammers would take note.  For them to take
note, the lawsuit would have to be widely publicized so that potential
spammers would be aware (not very good PR, I think), AND the
potential spammers would have to be logical, intelligent, scrupulous
people. Not likely.   

--Jered Floyd
jered @
 mit .

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