[Catalog-sig] The "Softpedia" spam

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Fri May 7 02:43:31 CEST 2010

On Fri, 7 May 2010 12:34:24 am Tarek Ziadé wrote:
> Hello,
> The Softpedia website sends an email to everyone that register or
> uploads something at PyPI. This is clearly a spam and their website
> don't care about our projects.
> I am not sure if they use the PubSubHubbub thing, but I was wondering
> how we could prevent these unsolicited mails.

I don't know that we should be responsible for trying to prevent every 
bad use of PyPI. I'm not even convinced that the Softpedia emails are 
spam in any legal or ethical sense.

It's not a mass broadcast of email: each email gets sent to *one* 
recipient. Re-distributing the software on PyPI is legal under the 
terms of the licences (possibly with a few exceptions). I think you 
would fail to convince a judge that, legally, Softpedia is spamming or 
engaged in any unreasonable action. You certainly fail to convince me.

It would be different if you sent them clear instructions telling them 
you prohibited them from redistributing the software, but that would be 
in clear contradiction of any Open Source licence I know of, and you 
won't get any sympathy from me.

You might not want to receive emails from Softpedia, but that doesn't 
make them spam. I don't want to receive those stupid "chicken soup for 
the soul" emails that my mum sends me, but that doesn't make them spam.

I don't think this is a problem we should be trying to solve. If you 
don't want to see Softpedia's emails, teach your mail client to filter 
them into the trash.

Steven D'Aprano

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