Busting Blocks: Revising 47 U.S.C. §230 To Address The Effective Lack Of Legal Recourse For Wrongful Inclusion In Spam Filters Under U.S. Law

Jonathan I. Ezor, Touro Law Center

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This article was originally published in the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology, Volume XVII (2011).


This paper discusses the growth and increasing significance of e-mail in the business and personal environment, and how unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail, also known as spam, has become a significant drain on technical and economic resources. It analyzes the statutory and self-help efforts to combat spam, with a specific focus on block lists and automated spam filters, and describes how alleged spammers have brought lawsuits in U.S. courts claiming they had been wrongfully included within block lists and filters. Finally, it describes some possible claims under U.S. law, then argues for a revision to current statutes to mandate a higher standard of care among block list vendors and ensure recourse to courts when self-help remedies for mistaken block listing fail.

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