Brad Bournival's ringing cell phone woke him on March 10. It was eight in the morning; he'd hit the hay at around five a.m., his usual bedtime. Bournival's half-brother, Erik Francoeur, was on the line. He told Bournival that someone had just been at the apartment on Montgomery Street and was trying to serve Bournival with a lawsuit. The man was waving a photo taken from Bournival's Yahoo! member profile, which showed him, unshaven, wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses. The man wanted to know if anyone had seen Bournival.
"What did you tell him?" asked a groggy Bournival.
"The usual drill," said Francoeur. Bournival had instructed his family members to play dumb with anyone who came looking for him.
Bournival thanked Francoeur and hung up. He assumed the visitor was just another schmuck trying to get settlement money out of him. Bournival went back to sleep.
Bournival awoke again early that evening. As he was checking his email and reading the headlines at Yahoo! News, Bournival spotted an article about spam lawsuits filed that day by AOL, Earthlink, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. Bournival leaned in.
According to the story, the lawsuits were the first by ISPs under the new CAN-SPAM law. AOL's lawsuit targeted Davis W. Hawke, Braden Bournival, and fifty unidentified "John Does." The article quoted AOL's general counsel, Randall Boe.
"If you're a spammer, this is not a great day for you," said Boe. "Ultimately, we're going to locate you and sue you."
Bournival stood ...