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Stupid Legal Watch: Canada Defines Relationships; Boris the Spammer Takes Note

By Ken Magill

1/8/13

And for more evidence of the ridiculousness we are in for if Canada’s anti-spam law ever goes into effect, authorities there have now defined the terms “personal relationship” and “family relationship” as they pertain to lawful email and unlawful spamming.

Why? Well, let’s hear it straight from the folks who defined them:

“The terms are clearly defined in order to establish limits and avoid legal uncertainty and to prevent potential spammers from exploiting these concepts in order to send electronic messages without consent.”

Phew! That was close. But thanks to Canada, when their new law goes into effect—if it ever does; it was passed in December, 2010—Boris the Russian spammer won’t be able to claim the old “personal relationship” exemption spammers have been using for oh, like, never.

The setting: St. Petersburg, Russia, sometime in 2014 [assuming Canada’s anti-spam law will be in effect, which experience says it may not.]:

Sergey: Boris, you have to close your business.

Boris: Why?

Sergey: Because Canada has outlawed unsolicited commercial email.

Boris: They did that in 2010 but it never went into effect.

Sergey: Yes, Boris. Yes it did. Last year. Didn’t you read the reports?

Boris: Sergey, I don’t read anything. I sell penis pills, remember?

Sergey: Of course I remember. But now you’re done, Boris. Even though you’ve broken 7,358 laws in 137 countries already, this one … well, this one is different.

Boris: Why?

Sergey: Because it’s … it’s … wow, I can barely bring myself to say it. This one is different because it’s … Canadian.

Boris: I know it’s Canadian. We already said that.

Sergey: Boris, It’s Canadian. Don’t you get it? [leaning in] It’s Canadian.

Boris: Oh, okay. It’s not just Canadian. It’s Canadian. Well, what if I claim I have a personal relationship with them? They exempted personal relationships and we have so many similarities. I love Russian hockey players. They love Russian hockey players. I live in a place that gets so cold my butt hairs get brittle. They live in a place that gets so cold their butt hairs get brittle. Our national tree is the Birch. Their national tree is the Maple. … Wait, forget that last one. But I can still say I’m just making penis-pill recommendations to all my Canadian friends, right?

Sergey: No, Boris. No you can’t. Those wily Canadian authorities saw you coming a mile away. They defined personal relationship, Boris. They knew that though you’ve never concerned yourself with 7,358 laws in 137 countries, this one would be different. You’d follow it to the letter because it’s … well it’s Canadian.

Boris: [shaking his head in resignation] I never thought they’d do it. I mean, they’re so polite. I guess my spamming days are truly over, Sergey. Sigh.

Sergey: I’m sorry, Boris. What will you do now?

Boris: Well, I’ve still got armed robbery and carjacking, right? Oh, and weapons trafficking. Don’t forget weapons trafficking. Then there’s murder for hire. I love murder for hire. But as God is my witness, I will never! Send! Spam! Again! [sniff, sob] Curse you Canadaaaaaa!!!!!!! Oh, wait: That’s curse you Canadaaaaa !!!!!!!

If Canada’s anti-spam law ever goes into effect, it will be one giant morass of restrictions, exemptions and definitions that only law-abiding commercial interests will take the time and spend the money to understand. Lawyers are gonna love it.

But hey, at least they will have stopped Boris, right?

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