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Check Country Law Before You Develop Software and Sell it

Posted on 17 March 2011

Many programmers develop their own software and sell the software online. This is one good method to earn extra money. However, you must be careful before selling your software (especially if you live in the US)
Recently, I read one post about a programmer who developed software to send mass email was placed on a blacklist (ROKSO) by SpamHaus.

Most of countries consider software of sending mass email as spamware. If programmers try to sell or distribute spamware in countries where spamware are prohibited, they will break the law. Especially in US, some states have strict laws to ban the sale and distribution of spamware. So when you sell or distribute to people in these states, you will be subject to prosecution.

The following state laws are related to unlawful use of email and spamware:

VIRGINIA

COMPUTER CRIMES ACT
SECTIONS 18.2-152.2, 18.2-152.4, & 18.2-152.12 (1999)

The Virginia Computer Crimes Act makes it a crime to “sell, give, distribute, or possess software whose principal purpose is to facilitate unsolicited bulk e-mail”

The Virginia Computer Crimes Act includes a Long-arm statute which establishes personal jurisdiction in Virginia’s courts. VIRGINIA CODE — TITLE 18.2. CRIMES AND OFFENSES GENERALLY
CHAPTER 5. CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
ARTICLE 7.1. COMPUTER CRIMES
SECTIONS 18.2-152.2, 18.2-152.4, & 18.2-152.12 (1999)
approved by Governor April 8, 2000, effective July 1, 2000

B. It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to sell, give or otherwise distribute or possess with the intent to sell, give or distribute software which (i) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; (ii) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to facilitate or enable the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; or (iii) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person’s knowledge for use in facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information.
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Unsolicited bulk electronic mail (e-mail); personal jurisdiction; Virginia Computer Crimes Act. Amends Virginia’s long-arm statute to establish that “use” of a computer or “computer network” located in the Commonwealth shall constitute an act in the Commonwealth. The bill also (i) expands the definitions of “computer services” and “without authority” and provides a new definition for “electronic mail service provider” in the Virginia Computer Crimes Act; (ii) makes it the crime of computer trespass to (a) falsify or forge e-mail message transmission information in connection with unsolicited bulk e-mail and (b) sell, give, distribute, or possess software whose principal purpose is to facilitate unsolicited bulk e-mail; (iii) provides that e-mail service providers shall not be liable for actions they take to prevent unsolicited bulk e-mail; (iv) provides civil relief to an injured person, other than an e-mail service provider, for actual damages or the lesser of $10 for each unsolicited bulk e-mail message or $25,000 per day and states that the injured person shall not have a cause of action against an e-mail service provider which merely transmits the e-mail message; (v) provides civil relief to an injured e-mail service provider for actual damages or the greater of $10 for each unsolicited bulk e-mail message or $25,000 per day; and (vi) cross-references the Virginia long-arm statute in the Virginia Computer Crimes Act to help ensure the establishment of personal jurisdiction in Virginia’s courts. The purpose of the bill is to curb a practice known as “spamming,” the sending of unsolicited e-mail to unsuspecting recipients.

DELAWARE

TITLE 11 — CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
SECTION 931 DELAWARE CODE — TITLE 11 — CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
SECTION 931
(Approved by Governor June 23, 1999; effective July 2, 1999)

A person is guilty of the computer crime:
(c) When a person sells, gives or otherwise distributes or possesses with the intent to sell, give or distribute software which:

(i) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information;

(ii) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to facilitate or enable the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; or

(iii) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person’s knowledge for use in facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission
information or other routing information.

ILLINOIS

815 ILCS 511/ ELECTRONIC MAIL ACT

COMPILED STATUTES
CRIMINAL OFFENSES
CRIMINAL CODE
720 ILCS 5
ILLINOIS COMPILED STATUTES CHAPTER 720 CRIMINAL OFFENSES
CRIMINAL CODE 720 ILCS 5/ CRIMINAL CODE OF 1961
ARTICLE 16D COMPUTER CRIME
(Approved by Governor July 22, 1999; effective January 1, 2000)

(a-5) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to sell, give, or otherwise distribute or possess with the intent to sell, give, or distribute software which (1) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; (2) has only a limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to facilitate or enable the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; or (3) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person’s knowledge for use in facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information.

OKLAHOMA

STATUTES TITLE 15. CONTRACTS
SECTION 776 OKLAHOMA STATUTES — TITLE 15. CONTRACTS – SECTION 776
Approved by Governor June 8, 1999; effective July 1, 1999

E. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, give, or otherwise distribute or possess with the intent to sell, give or distribute software which:

1. Is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information;

2. Has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to facilitate or enable the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; or

3. Is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person and with that person’s knowledge for use in facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information.

CONNECTICUT

PUBLIC ACT
NO. 99-160 CONNECTICUT PUBLIC ACT NO. 99-160
(Approved by Governor June 23, 1999; effective October 1, 1999)

(c) It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, give or otherwise distribute or possess with the intent to sell, give or distribute software that: (1) Is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; (2) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to facilitate or enable the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; or (3) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person’s knowledge for use in facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information.

PENNSYLVANIA

Unlawful transmission of electronic mail – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 7661 PENNSYLVANIA STATUTES SUBCHAPTER E
ELECTRONIC MAIL
Sec. 7661. Unlawful transmission of electronic mail.

(a) Offense defined.–A person commits the offense of unlawful transmission of electronic mail if he:
(2) Sells, gives or otherwise distributes or possesses with the intent to sell, give or distribute computer software which: (i) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; (ii) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to facilitate or to enable the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information; or (iii) is marketed by that person or another person acting in concert with that person with that person’s knowledge for the use in facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information.

LOUISIANA

CRIMINAL LAW
SECTION 73.1
LOUISIANA REVISED STATUTES
TITLE 14 — CRIMINAL LAW
SECTION 73.6
Added by Act 1180, House Bill 2228 (1999)
(Approved by Governor July 9, 1999)

73.6. Unsolicited Bulk Electronic Mail
B. It is unlawful for any person to use a computer or computer network without authority with the intent to falsify or forge electronic mail transmission information or other routing information in any manner in connection with the transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail through or into the computer network of an electronic mail service provider or its subscribers. It is also unlawful for any person knowingly to sell, give, or otherwise distribute or possess with the intent to sell, give, or distribute software which is any of the following:

(1) primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information.
(2) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to facilitate or enable the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information.
(3) marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person’s knowledge for use in facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information.

So please check the law clearly before selling your own software.

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