Eric Thomas wrote:
> The problem is that AOL is blocking all mail from company 1, company 2,
> ... company 5, based on origin rather than contents. Thus, AOL is
> preventing these companies from communicating with AOL customers, which
> clearly stands in the way of doing business with AOL customers.
Now while I'm not a lawyer, it seems pretty clear that AOL has never
made an agreement with company1, ..., company5 to accept their e-mail.
If AOL chooses to, that's fine. If not, that's fine. As long as
AOL isn't getting any consideration (i.e., money) for delivery, they
have no obligation to do so, or to continue to do so even if they
previously did so.
The "preventing...from communicating" argument just doesn't hold water;
they can reach AOL subscribers in plenty of (non-free) ways, but not
necessarily by free email spam to all AOL accounts. They never had
a "right" to do that in the first place.
Remember, for years, AOL subscribers couldn't get Internet email at all.
The only tricky question might be what AOL might have promised their
subscribers, but then the potential liability would only be to the
subscriber and not the external spammer. (And I bet they have enough
legalese limiting liability to amounts paid by the subscriber
anyway, in case one of those companies planted a "mole" AOL subscriber.)
I'm hoping this question will get a legal ruling in favor of AOL
as "damnably favorable" as the ruling against the CDA was. Sometimes,
the courts are more intelligent than the jerks who think they can
get away with anything make them out to be.