AGIS/Cyberpromo Article

Mark E Larson markl at
Thu Oct 2 13:37:05 UTC 1997
>October 1, 1997
>                   BY MIKE BRENNAN
>                   Free Press Business Writer
>                   A Dearborn Internet company must put the Web's
>                   largest creator of electronic junk mail back on
>                   line, at least for the next two weeks, a federal
>                   judge ruled Tuesday.
>                   But Cyber Promotions must post a $12,500 bond
>                   to pay for any potential damage to Apex Global
>                   Internet Services' (AGIS) computer network
>                   from net users opposed to bulk electronic
>                   advertising, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody said
>                   in her ruling in Philadelphia.
>                   Cyber Promotions had been sending daily millions
>                   of unsolicited electronic ads for everything from
>                   get-rich-quick schemes to sexually explicit Web
>                   sites.
>                   Sept. 16, AGIS pulled the plug on Cyber after
>                   three AGIS central switching stations were shut
>                   down by a flood of electronic signals from Web
>                   surfers opposed to junk E-mail.
>                   Brody ruled AGIS' contract with Cyber
>                   Promotions requires a 30-day notice before
>                   service could be terminated.
>                   So, she said, AGIS must reinstate Cyber
>                   Promotions through Oct. 16, or until the junk
>                   E-mailer gets connected through another Internet
>                   service provider.
>                   AGIS President Phillip Lawlor said he was
>                   disappointed with Brody's decision because he
>                   feels she did not hear all the evidence. He
>                   contends he may still disconnect Cyber
>                   Promotions without notice because of the
>                   electronic attacks against his network and
>                   because the company also used AGIS' network to
>                   counterattack its Web enemies.
>                   He asked that anti-bulk E-mail forces end the
>                   warfare against AGIS because of the court
>                   order. "The court has spoken," Lawlor said. "We
>                   need to honor our connectivity contract to Cyber
>                   Promotions."
>                   Lawlor said he now regrets his decision to give
>                   Cyber Promotions and several other bulk
>                   E-mailers -- called spammers in Net jargon -- a
>                   home. But he said he took his actions to help
>                   create a code of ethics for bulk E-mailers.
>                   Now he would welcome federal legislation
>                   blocking the use of the Internet to companies that
>                   send unsolicited bulk E-mail to Web surfers who
>                   don't want to receive them.
>                   "I would like some law I can enforce," he said. "I
>                   don't consider myself an anti-spammer, just a
>                   large backbone provider burdened with the task
>                   of protecting the Internet."
>                   Cyber Promotions President Sanford Wallace
>                   could not be reached for comment.
>                   Not addressed in the judge's ruling was Cyber
>                   Promotions' contention that the First Amendment
>                   guarantees its right to send all the E-mail it
>                   wants.
>                   "Under the law, it is improper to consider the
>                   nature of the activities of Cyber," Brody wrote in
>                   a footnote. "This includes my strong personal
>                   distaste for Cyber's business."
>                   Brody said the public interest "tips towards the
>                   issuance of a preliminary injunction, although it is
>                   undisputed that Cyber's business ... is a
>                   controversial one.
>                   "However, the fact that Cyber is an unpopular
>                   citizen of the Internet does not mean that Cyber
>                   is not entitled to have its contracts enforced in a
>                   court of law or that Cyber is not entitled to such
>                   injunctive relief as any similarly situated
>                   business," Brody ruled.

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