[OT] Good Anti-Spam Boilerplate

Steve Atkins steve at blighty.com
Mon Oct 11 15:32:48 UTC 2004

On Mon, Oct 11, 2004 at 10:51:42AM +0100, Michael.Dillon at radianz.com wrote:
> > After some senseless Googling, I'm at a loss.  I'm looking for a very
> > comprehensive, up-to-date example of an AUP that covers spam. 
> You might want to ask this question at a place like
> http://www.groklaw.net/
> First of all, it's a legal problem and the above blog
> is a place where lawyers hang out, but they seem to focus
> on the boundaries of technology and law which is where 
> the SPAM AUP issue sits.

I'm not sure I'd agree. Having an AUP that is enforcable in the way in
which you want to enforce it is very much an operational and policy
issue. You should have a lawyer check it over, as with any contract,
to ensure that you are defended legally should that ever be an issue,
but it's primarily a tool for your abuse staff to use.

Because of that, it's also unlikely that copying someone elses AUP
wholesale is going to be terribly appropriate, unless their business
model is fairly similar to yours (end-user vs web host vs bandwidth
provider vs colo...). It's well worth looking at others for concepts
and phrases to steal, but be very cautious of copying one that may
not be appropriate for the issues your abuse desk needs to handle.

You also need an internal, unpublished, policy document. It's pretty
much impossible to create an AUP that is specific enough to forbid
what you want forbidden and yet allow all legitimate use. The best
AUPs state your "philosophy" on acceptable use and your policies in
broad terms that don't try to be too specific and are overbroad in
that they forbid too much. Then selective enforcement by the abuse
staff allows you to implement the policy you actually need. That needs
a fairly competent abuse staff, and to provide some consistency in
handling issues they need their own policies and procedures. Writing
the first version of those down up-front gives you a good framework
to both make it clear what your intent is in drafting the AUP to
existing abuse staff and to help in bringing someone new in to
help with abuse work.


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