9th Circuit: Private Domain Registration May Constitute Material Misrepresentation Under CAN-SPAM

In upholding the conviction of two porn spammers under CAN-SPAM, the 9th Circuit briefly addressed the question of private domain registrations which conceal registration information absent a subpoena.  In U.S. v. Kilbride, the court stated clearly that “private registration for the purpose of concealing the actual registrant’s identity would constitute “material falsification'” under the CAN-SPAM Act.

While this is the first ruling of its kind, it is consistent with the FTC view that a recipient should be able to look up the domain a from address. Marketers in the 9th Circuit states (AK, AZ, CA, HI, NV, MT, OR, WA) should reevaluate the benefits from such a registration service in light of this ruling.

On a related note, a court rejected an attempt by  infamous spamigator Dan Balsam to hold TuCows liable for a default judgment he obtained against one of its private registrants.  More info:  Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog; BNA’s E-Commerce & Tech Law Blog.