Craigslist Inc. v. Instamotor
A $31,052,314 judgement was entered in Craigslist’s favor. Highlights include:
- $25,674,300 for CAN-SPAM violations
- $100 * 85,581 emails, trebled for aggravated damages (i.e., emailing scraped addresses)
- $1 for each email & $1 for each phone number scraped from 2,689,007 listings
In addition to the monetary penalties, Instamotor is prohibited from directly or indirectly using, copying, or reposting any Craigslist content, including use of emails obtained through Craigslist. Instamotor must also destroy any data it has obtained through Craigslist.
[N.D. CA; 4:17-cv-02449]
jbho: I found this one interesting as it is one of those rare cases where the CAN-SPAM private right of action is invoked. Craigslist qualified as an ISP since it provided its own proprietary messaging system. And since Instamotor used that internal system to send (spoof?) emails, statutory damages applied.
Also, a reminder to consider the Terms of any sites you are crawling, and to program your bots to honor any robots.txt files they may encounter.
And in case you were wondering: 15 U.S.C. § 7704(b)(1) states:
(b) Aggravated violations relating to commercial electronic mail
(1) Address harvesting and dictionary attacks–
(A) In general
It is unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission, to a protected computer, of a commercial electronic mail message that is unlawful under subsection (a), or to assist in the origination of such message through the provision or selection of addresses to which the message will be transmitted, if such person had actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that–
(i) the electronic mail address of the recipient was obtained using an automated means from an Internet website or proprietary online service operated by another person, and such website or online service included, at the time the address was obtained, a notice stating that the operator of such website or online service will not give, sell, or otherwise transfer addresses maintained by such website or online service to any other party for the purposes of initiating, or enabling others to initiate, electronic mail messages; or
(ii) the electronic mail address of the recipient was obtained using an automated means that generates possible electronic mail addresses by combining names, letters, or numbers into numerous permutations.
Nothing in this paragraph creates an ownership or proprietary interest in such electronic mail addresses.