responding to DMARC breakage

Miles Fidelman mfidelman at
Sat Apr 12 22:31:42 UTC 2014

Dave Crocker wrote:
> On 4/12/2014 2:38 PM, Jim Popovitch wrote:
>> On Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 1:12 PM, Miles Fidelman
>> <mfidelman at> wrote:
>>     someone needs to get a legal opinion wrt
>> the DMARC group's effort to have all mailinglists change their From:
>> address.
> "The DMARC group" (presumably referring to the informal 
> consortium that created DMARC) is conducting no such effort.
> The action taken this past week was an independent effort by Yahoo.
> had nothing to do with it.
> The DMARC specification is quite clear about the limitations of its use.
> Nothing is aided by the confusing the very basic different between a 
> specification and the choices actors make in applying it.
Dave, it's not that clear cut.  Standards bodies have been held liable 
for negligence, as have participants in standards making processes (just 
did a little googling of case law).  Trade associations have been held 
to be in violation of antitrust law.

I would expect that the right lawyer might have a field day painting the 
"informal consortium that created DMARC" as colluding in violation of 
anti-trust law, and perhaps criminal conspiracy.  At the very least, 
"creating a public nuisance."  And that's before we even consider civil 
torte liability.

I also expect that someone could make a good case against Yahoo for 
"knowingly caus[ing] the transmission of a program, information code, or 
command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damages 
without authorization to a protected computer” in violation of the 
Computer and Fraud Abuse Act - for publishing their p=reject policy, and 
possibly for hotmail, comcast, etc. for criminal conspiracy in honoring 
that policy.  (Kind of like a DDoS attack, or domain hijacking.)

But then, I'm not a lawyer, just an engineer and sometime policy wonk 
(who just had lots of fun working with some very smart lawyers on a bid 

Hmm... I wonder if anybody who's suffered serious economic damage as a 
result of this wants to bankroll some lawyers?  Could be fun. (And given 
the amount of pain this has inflicted on me, personally, I wouldn't mind 
sharing some of the pain.)

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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