This article seeks to identify areas that truly require legislative intervention by examining the harms purportedly caused by spam. Identifying exactly what constitutes spam is an imprecise task since one e-mail may be junk to one and an important e-mail to another. The article attempts to analyze why consumers feel strongly against spam. This reaction is compared to consumers’ comparatively tolerant reaction to other unwanted advertisement in different mediums, such as billboards or magazine advertisements. Several factors are considered, such as the waste of time associated with sorting spam, the loss of consumers’ control over their in-boxes, and the annoyance of getting spam in the first place. However, the article concludes that while spam may be annoying, it may not justify regulation of spam if there is a risk that important e-mails will be hindered from reaching their consumers. To address the problem of spam, this article posits that legislative action to curb spam is unnecessary. Society will evolve ways to deal with spam while other companies will develop ways to help lessen spam.
Eric Goldman, Where's the Beef? Dissecting Spam's Purported Harms, 22 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 13 (2003)