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Published by: Legal Writer on Aug 07, 2009
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FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
\ue000
JAMES S. GORDON, JR., an
individual doing business as
gordonworks.com,
Plaintiff-Appellant,
No. 07-35487
v.
D.C. No.
\ue001CV-06-00204-JCC
VIRTUMUNDO, INC., a Delaware
corporation; ADKNOWLEDGE, INC., a
OPINION
Delaware corporation; and SCOTT
LYNN, an individual,
Defendants-Appellees.\ue002

Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Western District of Washington
John C. Coughenour, District Judge, Presiding

Argued and Submitted
December 9, 2008\u2014Seattle, Washington
Filed August 6, 2009
Before: Ronald M. Gould, Richard C. Tallman, and
Consuelo M. Callahan, Circuit Judges.
Opinion by Judge Tallman;
Concurrence by Judge Gould
10481
COUNSEL
Timothy J. Walton, Walton & Rose, LLP, Palo Alto, Califor-
nia, for plaintiff- appellant James S. Gordon, Jr.

Derek Newman (argued), Randall Moeller, Newman & New- man, Attorneys at Law, LLP, Seattle, Washington, for defendants-appellees Virtumundo, Inc., Adknowledge, Inc., and Scott Lynn.

Shannon E. Smith, Deputy Attorney General, Robert M. McKenna, Attorney General of Washington, Seattle, Wash- ington, for Amicus Curiae State of Washington.

Jason K. Singleton, Richard E. Grabowski, Singleton Law Group, Eureka, California, for Amicus Curiae ASIS Internet Services, Joel Householter, and Ritchie Phillips.

10485
GORDON v. VIRTUMUNDO, INC.
OPINION
TALLMAN, Circuit Judge:

This case addresses unsolicited commercial e-mail, more commonly referred to as \u201cspam.\u201d1 While ignored by most and reviled by some, spam is largely considered a nuisance and a source of frustration to e-mail users who, at times, must wade through inboxes clogged with messages peddling assorted, and often unwanted, products and services. The rising tide of spam poses an even greater problem to businesses, institu- tions, and other entities through network slowdowns, server crashes, and increased costs. At the same time, commercial enterprise has staked its claim within the online world. The

1While \u201cspam\u201d in this context does not have a precise definition, it is
typically understood to refer broadly to unsolicited e-mail messages (or
\u201cjunk\u201d e-mail), typically commercial in nature. See United States v. Kel-
ley, 482 F.3d 1047, 1055 (9th Cir. 2007) (Thomas, J., dissenting).
The term \u201cSPAM\u201d originated as the trademark name for a canned pre-
cooked meat product manufactured by Hormel Foods Corporation.See
Hormel Foods Corp. v. Jim Henson Productions, Inc., 73 F.3d 497, 500

(2d Cir. 1996). The e-mail-related connotation has its roots in a popular 1970 sketch by the British comedy troupe Monty Python\u2019s Flying Circus, in which the word \u201cspam\u201d is repeated to the point of absurdity.Kelley, 482 F.3d at 1056 n.2 (Thomas, J. dissenting) (citing CompuServe Inc. v. Cyber

Promotions, Inc., 962 F. Supp. 1015, 1018 n.1 (S.D. Ohio 1997)). A wait-

ress recites menu items, which, to the restaurant patrons\u2019 dismay, involve increasingly repetitive mention of SPAM, only to be periodically inter- rupted by a group of Vikings chanting a chorus about SPAM until normal dialogue is impossible. David Crystal, Language and the Internet 53-54 (2001) (citing to Monty Python\u2019s Flying Circus, 2d series, episode 25 (BBC television broadcast Dec. 15, 1970)). Thus, in the context of the Internet, \u201cspam\u201d has come to symbolize unwanted, and perhaps annoying, repetitious behavior that drowns out ordinary discourse. The term was first used in the electronic messaging context to describe the practice of send- ing advertisements to many recipients, particularly on newsgroup forums.

Id. But see S. Rep. No. 108-102, at 2 n.1 (2003), as reprinted in2004

U.S.C.C.A.N. 2348, 2348 (noting that \u201c[i]t all started in early Internet chat rooms and interactive fantasy games where someone repeating the same sentence or comment was said to be making \u2018spam.\u2019 \u201d).

10486
GORDON v. VIRTUMUNDO, INC.

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