Lost Packets 8

Spammer’s Porsche up for grabs in AOL contest

America Online Inc. (AOL) is holding a contest in which the winner will be handed the keys to a 2002 Porsche Boxster convertible, formerly owned by a now-convicted spammer. The spammer was caught last year with the help of AOL members who sent information using the AOL “report spam” button on their Web browsers. According to the Dulles, Va.-based ISP, the car will be given away to one lucky AOL member in a random draw April 9. The car was purchased with profits from the spammer’s operations and was taken under asset-seizure under Virginia’s anti-spam laws, AOL said. The spammer was the subject of one of five lawsuits filed by AOL last April. The spammers were accused of sending unsolicited e-mail to AOL members.

Italian decree gives registered e-mail legal status

The Italian government has passed a decree that will give registered e-mail services the same legal status as recorded delivery letters. The decree is expected to go into effect within the next month and was developed in response to the rising costs of sending registered mail. According to reports, the cost to the civil service for sending conventional postal mail was estimated at US$24 per letter compared to approximately US$2.40 per e-mail. In addition, the Italian ministry said replacing traditional telegrams with e-mail has reduced paper consumption by 17 per cent. Government guidelines say e-mail services must be safe from interference and meet security criteria. Customers using the service would receive messages from providers confirming the delivery and receipt of registered e-mail messages. Service providers must also keep records of message traffic for two years as legal proof of sent messages.

Internet surrogate mother pocketed money for baby

A 33-year-old British woman was in court last month after taking money from two couples for her unborn child. According to reports, Moira Greenslade contacted two sets of would-be parents over the Internet and eventually pocketed nearly US$3,500 from surrogacy agreements. In one case, Greenslade received approximately US$1,500 from a couple, the husband of which was to declare himself the natural father and the wife would then apply to adopt the child after birth. After the money transfer, Greenslade cancelled the deal via e-mail. U.K. courts suggested the offences were so serious that they deserved greater punishment than could be given. Greenslade has since pleaded guilty to charges.

Thumbs up for uploaders

Canadian music file-swappers were probably cheering earlier this month when a Federal Court Judge decided that ISPs should not have to fork over the names of alleged file-swappers to record companies. The likes of BMG Canada, EMI Music Canada and Warner Music Canada sought the names of 29 people who offered multiple music files on file-sharing programs like Kazaa, but Judge Konrad von Finckenstein found that the recording industry failed to make its case. Further, he questioned the record companies’ assertion that file sharing is illegal, saying copyright infringement only occurs when someone actively sends out copyrighted material to other people. The Canadian Recording Industry Association’s (CRIA) lawyer said the organization would appeal the ruling.

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