David Miller dmiller at
Fri Apr 6 12:11:27 CDT 2012

On 4/6/2012 12:35 PM, Michael Thomas wrote:
> On 04/06/2012 09:17 AM, Brielle Bruns wrote:
>> On 4/6/12 10:02 AM, Michael Thomas wrote:
>>> I wonder how long a popularish blacklist operator would last if they,
>>> oh say, blacklisted all of google or microsoft before they got some
>>> very threatening letters from their legal staff. An hour? A day? A
>>> week?
>>> You may have the right to list them and change your mind in your own
>>> good time, but they also have the right to defend their reputation
>>> civilly
>>> too. With great power comes great responsibility and all that.
>> Slippery slope.
>> For large providers who depend alot on spam filters, thats one huge
>> door to open that could get very ugly very quick in the reverse path.
>> Imagine every ISP suing hotmail and google for blocking messages for
>> arbitrary reasons with no apparent justification.
>> What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
>> There's also USC 47,230 to contend with.
> It's more of an arms race than a slippery slope, but my point is that a
> big enough company would absolutely respond if they felt a big enough
> blacklist was being capricious in a way that was affecting their making
> money.
> I sympathize with "my blacklist, my donated time, my rules", but when
> you're affecting their business, you better get it right and better
> respond
> reasonably when the inevitable screwups happen. The one absolute right
> you
> have is to not be in the blacklist business (paid or not) at all.
> Beyond that,
> you have responsibilities too, and it would be best for everybody to not
> take them lightly causing the entire thing to get escalated to the legal
> domain where everybody most likely loses.

What grounds would these large senders have to file any legal objections
against an RBL?

RBLs don't block emails.  Operators of mail servers who use RBLs block
emails (in part) based on information from RBLs.

Noone has a "right" to send email to anyone else.  Email is a
cooperative agreement between sender and receiver.  The receiver agrees
to accept the email, but at any time and for any reason the receiver can
stop agreeing to accept emails from a sender.  It is completely legal to
decide not to accept (i.e. block) emails from a sender.

RBLs are not beholden to senders.  RBLs are beholden to the receivers
who use their RBL to preserve the quality of the RBL.  RBLs are a
meritocracy.  If an RBL either lists too many valid senders or does not
list enough bad senders, then receivers will notice and stop using the
RBL on their servers.


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