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rbl attacked via law

  • From: Herman Van Uytven < >
  • Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 09:55:07 +0100


As a subscriber to rbl maps I received the mail below.
Two questions:
1) does anyone know if blocking sites is against the law (of EC countries) ?
   I do not think there is any problem, since it is necessary to protect
   the net/computers against criminals (just like you have locks
   on your house and car).
2) I think we need to support RBL now silently, e.g. by blocking and 204.233.112 completely.

Extract of original mail: is a web hosting provider who is harbouring spammers.  We
blackholed the MX RRs of the spammers yesterday, which happen to be
shared by's other customers. immediately called
and made legal threats; we suggested that they either drop the web
hosting customers who are spamming, or move their MX RR to different
servers so as to avoid inconveniencing their other, non-spamming,

The operator of was outraged at the suggestion that he
change his business practices in any way.  He has since that time
called and threatened both my secretary and my voice-mailbox, and
also scanned the RBL web site for any and all possible contacts to
vent upon and otherwise threaten.  An example of the threats he's
sending is contained below.  In his voicemail to me this morning he
said only that I "need to be put down" and that "the lawyers are

I do not consider this a serious threat, but it's possible that this
is the landmark legal battle I've been spoiling for all this time --
I want to be the next "Roe vs. Wade" and set a legal precedent that
all Internet communications are voluntary and must be consensual.
My hopes, in other words, are high.  I will call Mr. Bechtold later
today and see whether there is indeed no recourse to a lawsuit.

I'll report back here with any news, in case some of you want to wait
for a resolution to the jihad before continuing your use of the RBL.
Again, my personal feeling is that this is not the lawsuit I've been
looking for, and will probably fail to materialize.  You should consult
your primary legal advisors to determine your own course.  Please feel
free to contact me if you have any comments.

- ------- Forwarded Message

From:          AlanBechtold@localhost
Date:          17 Nov 1998 15:44:04 CST
Subject:       Lawsuit -- you'll be named!

I am writing to inform you that you must IMMEDIATELY remove and cease
using the MAPS RBL from your products. They have unfairly and without
investigation added my company to this list causing irreparable
immeasurable harm to my business and I am filing suit against MAPS,
anyone subscribing to or using their list and -- ultimately -- your
company for incorporating this so-called "technology" into your

My company hosts Web sites and designs them. We are not an ISP. We don't
sell E-mail accounts or other access besides Web site hosting. Period.
It appears one of our clients send SPAM advertising his Web site on our
server. Someone e-mailed us a complaint demanding we remove the
offending party's Web site! I carefully explained this would be like
evicting someone from his apartment because he got caught shoplifting
down the street. Shoplifting's wrong -- but the landlord doesn't have
anything to do with it and would be open to horrific legal jeapordy if
he took that stance.

It seems this person took this to mean I am PRO-SPAM, so he sent my
E-mail to the folks at MAPS and now we are finding our company is being

Let me make my position clear...our company makes its LIVING from the
Internet. And I will FIGHT to preserve its ability to do so. I am now
dedicating ALL of my available resources to bringing MAPS and ALL
associated parties -- including you -- DOWN.

CEASE AND DESIST. The next thing you hear from me will be from my

 --- ALAN R. BECHTOLD, President
BBS Press Service, Inc.
1047B Gage Blvd.
Topeka, KS 66604
785-271-0192 FAX

- ------- End of Forwarded Message

------- End of Blind-Carbon-Copy

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