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Larry Lessig bets his job on spam law -- with me as judge?



I was about to send out a pointer to this interesting paper 
(http://theory.whirlycott.com/~phil/antispam/rbl-bad/rbl-bad.html) on 
anti-spam blacklists, when I found a link from it to Larry Lessig's blog 
(which, clearly, I should read more often).

The post is here:
http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/lessig/blog/archives/2003_01.shtml#000787

In it, Larry proposes that I judge the outcome of his bet and the future of 
his job. I accept, and pledge to be a fair and reasonable arbiter.

(Although I suspect Larry may not have to worry much about condition (a). 
This is just a hunch, but I believe that Congress is more likely to approve 
legislation restricting sexually explicit spam than a bill mandating "ADV:" 
or its equivalent.)

-Declan

---

http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/lessig/blog/archives/2003_01.shtml#000787

putting my job where my mouth is

A kind-hearted email and a nice analysis of spam have given me an idea:

First the analysis: Philip Jacob has a great piece about spam and RBLs. The 
essay not only identifies the many problems with RBLs, but it nicely maps a 
mix of strategies that could be considered in their place. But, alas, 
missing from the list is one Ive pushed: A law requiring simple labeling, 
and a bounty for anyone who tracks down spammers violating the law.

Then I got an email from a kind soul warning me about my workdo you know 
how powerful your enemies are? this person asked. No, I thought, I dont, 
but lets see. If Ive got such powerful enemies, then Ive got a good way 
to do some good.

Here goes: So (a) if a law like the one I propose is passed on a national 
level, and (b) it does not substantially reduce the level of spam, then (c) 
I will resign my job. I get to decide whether (a) is true; Declan can 
decide whether (b) is true. If (a) and (b) are both true, then Ill do (c) 
at the end of the following academic year.

So: Is there anyone else advancing a spam solution who would offer this 
kind of warranty?




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