X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
american lawyer media news service San francisco-Companies besieged by unwanted e-mail can invoke California’s trespass-to-chattels law only if the messages cause actual damage to equipment or property, the California Supreme Court has ruled. Ruling 4-3 in a case that’s been closely monitored in free speech and technology law circles, the justices said it’s not enough if the unwanted messages just take time and attention away from employees. But the majority ruling, by Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, said the law could still be used against senders of spam that overloads company servers. The court stressed that the thousands of e-mails that former Intel Corp. employee Kourosh Kenneth Hamidi sent to workers’ company e-mail addresses were different from the bulk spam messages that can overburden a company’s computer systems. “Intel presented no evidence its system was slowed or otherwise impaired by the burden of delivering Hamidi’s electronic messages,” Werdegar wrote in Intel v. Hamidi, No. 03 C.D.O.S. 5711. In fact, she wrote, “no evidence suggested that in sending messages through Intel’s Internet connections and internal computer system Hamidi used the system in any manner in which it was not intended to function or impaired the system in any way.” The majority opinion was cheered by advocates of free speech and experts in computer law, many of whom filed amicus briefs in the case. The court drew precisely the right line, Mark Lemley, a University of California, Berkeley School of Law professor, wrote in an e-mail. “By drawing the line it did, the court makes it clear that [Internet service providers] can stop spam that shuts down their systems, while forbidding companies from using the tort of trespass to chattels as a competitive weapon or a way to stop speech.”

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.