O’Raghallaigh of Managing Intellectual Property notes that the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling in Balsam v. Tucows holding that Tucows was not obliged to reveal the identity of one of their registrants who used the firm’s Angeles privacy protection service.
Balsam had sought the identity of the individual who sent him a lot of spam, and while the court was sympathetic, it offered him no legal joy:
There is no simple remedy for the vast number of unsolicited emails, popularly known as “spam,” that fill our electronic inboxes daily. Even though federal and state legislatures have adopted various laws to combat this problem, “spammers” continue to find new ways to advertise. Daniel Balsam, a victim of spam, seeks an alternative method of enforcement by bringing claims against the registrar of a domain site that bombarded him with more than 1,000 unwanted emails advertising a pornographic website. He claims that the registrar utilizes a system to hide the identity of spammers, making it difficult to identify the spammer. We consider Balsam’s claim that he is an intended third-party beneficiary of an agreement between the registrar and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”). Under Balsam’s theory, the agreement’s provisions on wrongful use of domain names inure to his benefit. Although his approach is novel and creative, it cannot survive a motion to dismiss.
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