The Lumber Cartel, local 42 (Canadian branch)
 |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

Glossary - Chattel

"Chattel" is old legal terminology that refers to a single item of tangible or intangible personal property in most jurisdictions (a small number of jurisdictons restrict this definition to tangible personal property that can be moved, while a few others extend it to include intangible assets).

The definition of chattel is somewhat varied.  For example, during the mid-17th century, slaves were classified as "chatel" (spelled with one letter "t" instead of two).  Although slavery is outlawed in most civilized nations in the early-21st century, slaves are still sometimes classified as "chattel" where slavery is permitted by law. Chattel

Trespass to chattels

Spam-fighters sometimes use the phrase "trespass to chattels" to describe the actions of a spammer interfering with their chattel (e.g., movable personal property such as computer equipment like eMail servers).  In most scenarios, actual damages are not necessarily required to prove a "trespass to chattels" claim, as was evidenced in court proceedings in the following court cases against spammers who intentionally spammed:

  • This is the first case where "trespass to chattels" was applied to spam:
    • 1997 - CompuServe Inc. v. Cyber Promotions, Inc.
  • These three cases helped to further establish "trespass to chattels" as a spam-fighting tool:
    • 1998 - America Online, Inc. v. IMS
    • 1998 - America Online, Inc. v. LCGM, Inc.
    • 1998 - America Online, Inc. v. Prime Data Systems, Inc.
  • These two cases used "trespass to chattels" successfully:
    • 2000 - eBay v. Bidder's Edge
    • 2000 -, Inc. v. Verio, Inc.

There have also been some instances where "trespass to chattels" was not successful, so it is important to get legal advice from a properly qualified lawyer before deciding whether to use this argument in an actual court case (and because each case is unique, etc.).

See also

[Home] [Profile] [Glossary] [Library] [Resources] [Tools] [FAQ] [Site map] [Contact us]

Copyright © Inter-Corporate Computer & Network Services, Inc.  All rights reserved.
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.