The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Help fight a spammer SLAPP Suit — donate to defense fund

Spam-fighter David Ritz needs your help.

In previous editions of the Spam Diaries I've told the tale of a SLAPP lawsuit brought against me by spammer Jerry Reynolds.

In a nutshell, Reynolds sued me for defamation over his entry in my anti-spam website. The purpose of this lawsuit, obviously, was to suppress information about his prior spamming activities, and to extract revenge against an anti-spammer who had caused him trouble in the past. For more information about this lawsuit, see my entries About the lawsuits and SLAPP Lawsuits by Jerry Reynolds.

One issue which I've only brushed on is another lawsuit filed by Reynolds, against anti-spammer David Ritz. David is a spam-fighter of long standing, and one of the most meticulous I have ever met. If you ever need hard data on a spammer, contact David. (Just be prepared to wade through megabytes of evidence.) David has apparently been more of a thorn in Reynolds' hide than I have, so Reynolds is pursuing this case with a vengeance.

The case has been going on for more than a year, with Reynolds and his lawyer attacking viciously and repeatedly. David has been repeatedly deposed. His computers have been repeatedly subpoenaed. At his lawyer's request, we've only communicated to each other through our lawyers, so I'm not privy to everything that happened since the lawsuit against me was dismissed, but I do know that his expenses have been astronomical.

SLAPP lawsuits by spammers against anti-spammers are nothing new. Spamhaus has been sued twice. MAPS has been sued multiple times. Numerous other spam-fighters have also been sued. One of the differences here is that David is not an organization with resources or an individual with means. Unlike Spamhaus, he has no pro-bono lawyer. Frankly, I'm surprised he's survived this long.

The actual trial comes up very soon, and so I expect his expenses to increase vastly over the next few weeks.

The purpose of this entry is to ask that people give as generously as they can to David's defense fund.

Checks may be mailed to

David Ritz
c/o Debra S. Koenig
Godfrey and Kahn, S.C.
780 N Water Street
Milwaukee WI 53202

I have also created a web page where you may make donations by Paypal or credit card. This is more convenient, but a check directly to his lawyer's office will get there quicker.

Just for fun, I've created an added incentive: those who donates $500 or more will receive a bound copy of my Encyclopedia of Spam. The cost of producing this will be part of my donation to David's defense fund. This book is the source of this blog's logo.

Please give as much as you can.

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Blogger Devdas said...

I just donated 500 USD. Instead of shipping the physical book to me, could you just auction it or something, and add that sum to the donation?

10:54 AM  
Blogger Spam Diaries said...

Wow, awesome. I'll put the book on eBay right away. --ef

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, so he admits to breaking laws while playing hacker and there's a charity for him?

I'm sorry, but the spam-freedom-fighter defense doesn't really work when he posted credit card numbers of owners, tried to DOS because of usenet, and generally just acted like a dick.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Spam Diaries said...

Umm, no. The judge's decision is essentially a cut-n-paste from what the spammer claims.

The only things David did were to use the standard administrative tools anybody investigating the source of spam would use.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the judge know what you think:

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ritz's unauthorized use of Host -l was the weak point in the case. I suppose that there needs to be a law enforcement agency that tries to shut down spammers not vigilantes.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Spam Diaries said...

I don't think writing to the judge will help. First, the decision has already been made; she's not going to reverse it over a few emails. Second, you can't really "lobby" judges anyway; they're supposed to act independently of public opinion. Third, and most important, the highest crime in this land is Pissing Off The Judge. Angry letters from a bunch of random people who don't even live in ND isn't going to help anybody.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Spam Diaries said...

As far as "host -l" not being authorized, that's bogus in both the facts and the law. Read RFC 1296 for an example of how zone transfers are a standard network diagnostic tool. You don't need "authoriziation" to do one any more than you need "authorization" to download somebody's web page.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just use the mail to register her for "commercial mail" :) I'm sure even judges appreciate irony!

2:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I myself have been accused of spamming on more than one occasion. Once david removed a derogatory post about myself because it was not accurate and had nothing to do with myself or my company. Even someone ACCUSED OF SPAMMING can appreciate the honesty and integrity that an anti spammer has.
I dont mind taking heat for problems that I cause but nobody likes to be accused of something they didnt do. For that reason I will be sending a donation to his defense fund. I hope it will be accepted. Andrew Chandler

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just donated $5000.00 to complete the transaction I promised to make in the past from I am happy to help and wish you all well.
I hate spam, it has caused us problems and I support what you do.

Chris Jester
Suavemente, Inc.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Techie said...

I have donated $700.


2:37 AM  

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