From: "Peter Galbavy" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 12:36:02 +0100
Paul Vixie wrote:
> consider microsoft-yahoo-aol's big fad of the moment which is suing
> spammers and blaming asia. the number one (#1) contributor to spam
Not in that report, but on TV last night a M$ spokedroid was quoted as
saying something like "... if Mr. Grainger offers definative proof he is
innocent, we will drop the action."
Erm, I thought that both the US and the UK subscribed to a doctrine of
burden-of-proof on the accuser ?
You confuse civil and criminal law.
In criminal law the accused is considered innocent until proven
guilty (unless he's someone you don't like or member of a group or
class you don't like). Conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable
In civil law the only requirement to sue is that you legally
exist. (Both people and corporations may sue.) It's not even clear
that the party being sued has to legally exist. (God has been sued.)
Of course, many suits are immediately dismissed for lacking
merit. But, if you can present any real indication that you have been
wrongs, you can sue. Even if the defendant can present clear proof
that he is not guilty, he must present it in court. So they actually
are showing a bit of flexibility by saying that they will drop the
suit if they are given evidence.
Also, civil suites don't require a heavy burden of proof. Instead of
"beyond a reasonable doubt", they only require a "preponderance of
evidence". Even if you think the accusation is clearly unfounded, you
can lose if you don't waste the time to show up and present evidence
that the case is unfounded.
This is true in the US (except, possibly, in Louisiana) where British
common law is the basis of the system. Louisiana law is based on the
Napoleonic Code and is supposed to be very different, but I can't say
for sure. I assume that the UK has similar common law since ours come
(IANAL, I just play one on the net.)