An overbroad subpoena of dubious validity "served" by email to unnamed recipients throughout cyberspace.

The first spampoena was deployed last January in the DeCSS / MPAA case; the second was just sent out in the matter of CPhack / Cyber Patrol. We may dearly desire that, quashed forthrightly, it will be the last ever served. A judge in Boston -- in a hearing at which no defense attorney was present -- granted a subpoena requiring that a Canadian and a Swede remove certain content from their Web sites. The lawyer for Cyber Patrol's parent company requested and reportedly received permission to "serve" copies of the subpoena by email to hundreds of unknown others in all parts of the world. Several hundred of the spampoenas have been mailed (and fewer received). The ACLU's motion to quash the subpoena concludes:

The subpoenas must be quashed because they were not properly served, because they violate the geographic limitations of Rule 45, and because they impose an undue burden... that raises significant constitutional questions. More fundamentally, they must be dismissed because they are in aid of an underlying case that itself must be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, and mootness. It is improper to impose on a third party the burden of any subpoena -- particularly one that raises a host of thorny privacy issues -- in aid of a case that does not belong in this Court in the first place."

For an example:


<spampoena>


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
------------------------------------
MICROSYSTEMS SOFTWARE, INC., a Massachusetts corporation, and MATTEL, INC., a Delaware corporation,

Plaintiffs,

      vs.

SCANDINAVIA ONLINE AB, a Swedish corporation; ISLANDNET.COM, a Canadian corporation; EDDY L. O. JANSSON, a Swedish citizen; and MATTHEW SKALA, a Canadian citizen,

Defendants.

------------------------------------ X

:

:

:

:

:
X


CIVIL ACTION NO.

00-CV-10488-EFH






SUBPOENA

YOU ARE COMMANDED to produce and permit inspection and copying at the place, date, and time specified below all documents in your possession custody or control concerning:

DOCUMENTS REQUESTED

Each and every person who produced, received, viewed, downloaded or accessed "CP4break.zip" or "cphack.exe" or any derivative thereof from your Web site or Web site hosting service.

PLACE DATE AND TIME

Schwartz and Nystrom, LLC
March 24, 2000
419 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116 U.S.A.
(617) 421-1400
FAX (617) 421-1810

ISSUING OFFICER SIGNATURE AND TITLE


Attorney for Plaintiff March 17, 2000

ISSUING OFFICER'S NAME, ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER

Irwin B. Schwartz
Schwartz and Nystrom, LLC
419 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116 U.S.A.
(617) 421-1800
</spampoena>

http://www.tbtf.com/blog/2000-03-19.html

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