Frequently Asked Questions
- "I just want to ask a question. Do I have to pay?"
Not if it is a question about the law or my services. Please look below first to see if your question is answered here.
If you are seeking legal advice, you will need to establish an attorney-client relationship with my firm, the Law Offices Of Timothy J. Walton.
- "Should I opt out of email advertising?"
Many ISPs (including Yahoo) and states attorneys general suggest not to opt out. Some studies (though admittedly not very scientific studies) suggest that opting out actually leads to more commercial email as the advertisers realize the email address is valid and being read, and they continue or even increase the amount of advertising, or sell the address to other advertisers.
Plus, under federal law, a recipient of email has no standing to complain about a failure to honor an opt out request, so there is no guarantee that it will be honored, and no recourse if it is not.
The only reason to opt out, IMHO, is if you trust the sender, which is difficult to justify if it is someone who sent unsolicited commercial email.
If you were to make an opt out request, I would recommend noting the date and time, and the Internet address where the opt out request was made. The sender and advertiser have ten days to comply.
- "How do I track down a spammer?"Most spammers try to hide their identities because they know that what they are doing is wrong. Nonetheless, they want your money and need to provide at least enough info to get it. Click here to learn what to look for.
- "What if I'm ripped off on ebay?"
Litigation is expensive. Your best bet is to take the other side through the ebay process and hope that the other side is a reputable merchant wanting your future business. If you bought a car, house or similar item then it may be worth the expense of litigation.
- "Somebody is using my email address in spam."
You have suffered what they call a "joe job." This is unfortunately very common. I myself have been a victim on more than one occasion. There are a lot of issues of law here, particularly if you have registered trademarks with the federal government.
It is not always economically feasible to sue for civil damages, however. Hotmail lost tens of thousands of dollars paying people to clean up the mess the spammer caused. Going to trial can cost a lot! And the defendants may not even have the money to satisfy the judgment. If you are serious about litigation, I would love to represent you.
You might note that the practice is also criminal in California. See Cal.Pen.Code section 502. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/484-502.9.html
If you can get somebody at the district attorneys' office interested, you might be able to get some action from local law enforcement.
- "Can you still represent me if I am not in California?"
Maybe. It depends. If your legal problem concerns federal trademark law, or a fraudulent California company, then I may choose to take your case. If you need an attorney in your jurisdiction, take a look at www.computercounsel.com.
- "Why would I have to agree to a contract before sending you email?"
This is meant to deter people from sending unsolicited commercial email to my addresses. If you want to communicate to me about the law, then the contract doesn't affect you much. If there are spammers willing to pay for my attention span, then I will give them their money's worth.
- "What if my spider finds your email address?"
If it follows the instructions in the robots.txt file, then it won't find my addresses. If it ignores the robots.txt file, then I assert that it is acting as your legal agent and binds you to the contract.
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2010 Timothy J. Walton