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Old 13th June 2008
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TerryP TerryP is offline
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Default need advice: legally enforcing a ban

On a site I help tend to, we have a disgruntled former member who is no longer welcome on our website or game servers along with a few of his friends.

Recruiting on another groups server and abusing the server will tend to get that done to ya even if you are an ex member.


When a thread came up about it in our public forum and some mentioning of bans were put forth by less technical-minded patrons. He created another account to post about it in a new thread, as rebelution. My associate and I humored him just long enough to slap the necessary bans on his areas IP ranges ;-)


We have a few more hits and proxies which we've also made efforts to lock out via our referrer blocking, obviously it's a case of time wasting for all parties (he wants to waste our time and bandwidth).

Much more of this and I think his account will be tied to a Perl script to automatically ban his current IP, delete his site session from the database, and send him a warning message, which would probably annoy him into something more legally entangling.


We didn't bother to delete his accounts because he'll just brush fire into more. The only consistent thing has been his registering with username@yahoo.com -> easy enough to lock out of our system but, then again he'll just find another. At least this way, we know how to track the kid across our site easy enough while looking for other accounts. If any of our members still have a copy of his application form from, we can probably get his real name on file.


Between the web servers access logs and the # of IP/referrer blocks we've processed, since he will not stay off our 'virtual' property, is there any legal action that can be brought against him?


For me, it's mostly the same as trespassing or breaking & entering but i may as well live on the web.


The offender resides in California, USA and our server is on the USA's east coast.
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Old 13th June 2008
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Unless there is a lawyer on the forums (actively practicing in the area you seek help in) who is willing to offer free advice, I'd recommend seeking real legal help.

Tech geeks are often willing to provide their esteemed legal advice (even me; though I've tried to stop this), but frankly it's not worth the paper (?) it's printed on.
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Old 13th June 2008
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'Tech geeks' as you put it, at least know the technical side of things. With some of the people here, there might also be someone with past experiences.


The legal advice might not be worth the HTML it's reformatted in but it does help me figure out if I would be wasting my time or not.
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Old 13th June 2008
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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I'm Canadian, I wouldn't dare dream to know American law, or even respect it at times, but it's clear this user is effecting your community in a negative way..

If you have his original IP, it makes sense that he wouldn't have tried to mask it when he signed up etc, it might be viable to contact his ISP.

The chances of them giving up private information is negligible, but they might send a written letter to his house.. and if he's a minor, he might get in trouble with his parents at least.
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Old 13th June 2008
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There have been many, many law suits regarding abuse attached to computers. In this instance, the key phrase to Google for is "trespass to chattel."

IANAL, NDIPOOTV. With that disclaimer out of the way, unless you can show SIGNIFICANT financial harm, pursuing this is absolutely not worth the money. Lawyers in the US seem to average $300/hour, and if you want one who specializes in computer abuse cases, you'll be paying a lot more.
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Old 13th June 2008
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Damage and harm, not really. Bandwidth usage has been much higher then normal, which is in fact how we found his last proxy. We have enough bandwidth to spare, that he could use 2*my bandwidth usage per billing date and still not cause problems (I use a big chunk compared to most of our regular visitors) .


He's definitely accessing a website that he has been denied access to with an apparent intent to piss us off and waste [our] resources.

We have his IP's but it's quite possible his current one may have changed by now (which is why the range was blocked). Even if we unblocked it, he's not dumb enough to post without a proxy again.


I would like to "discourage' him, I've actually considered setting things to redirect blocked proxies to a porn site just for the hope of getting him grounded. But that might be a bit of a problem if anyone we want to access the site tries one of them :\
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Old 13th June 2008
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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An arm for an arm does not work, look at the USA legal system.. death penalty for example.

Sorry, but I'm going to end up agreeing with jggimi, legal costs, is it really worth pursuing? unless he costs you in excess of a few thousand dollars, leave it be.
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Old 14th June 2008
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Usually ignoring the abuser and quietly removing posts and accounts works ... He's just trying to get attention so whatever you do, don't give him ANY attention, just ignore.
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Old 14th June 2008
JMJ_coder JMJ_coder is offline
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Hello,

As others have pointed out, lawyers and court costs aren't cheap - unless you find one willing to work pro bono. But, sometimes it is not a matter of dollars and cents - sometimes it's the principle that matters.

I'm not a lawyer, but I do know that computer - and in particular internet - law is a new and burgeoning field where there's not a lot of set rules. Even if there is no law or legal precedent for your situation, there is always a good chance a single case could lead to new avenues of legalities. This has been a general pattern for the past 10-20 years.
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