Vonage Decision: Use of Multiple Domain Names for Email Not Deceptive

In Kleffman v. Vonage, the California Supreme Court flat out rejected a popular contention by professional anti-spam litigants (aka “Spamigators”) that the use of multiple domain names or nonsensical domain names was not deceptive so as to trigger liability under California’s email marketing law.  While some viewed this as a setback in the fight against spam, the California Supreme Court stressed that Kleffman’s “proposed construction is inconsistent with the statutory language read in context and would be unworkable in practice.”

Bennet Kelley stressed this same point.

The issue here is not what the law should be (although that is a discussion worth having in another context), but what the actual law says. Kleffman is part of a small band of semi-professional plaintiffs who, as the 9th Circuit stated in the Gordon decision, seek to enforce their own “subjective view of what the law ought to be [which] differs substantially from the law itself.”

The Supreme Court’s decision is a correct reading of the law as it stands. The venue for determining whether the law should be different is in Washington and Sacramento. It is worth noting that Kleffman tried — without success – to change California law on this point. As the 9th Circuit stated in Gordon, while anti-spam “enthusiasts may applaud his zealous counter-attack against alleged spammers, Gordon’s passion for the cause does not displace the will of [the legislature].”

‘More Info:  California Court Backs Vonage In Spam Lawsuit, Online Media Daily.