So how will the judgment against Spamhaus be enforced? How will anyone force Spamhaus to pay, assuming they don't voluntarily fork over the money?
I'm not talking about what you think is right and wrong. (And on a personal note, I am perfectly OK with ignoring or disregarding laws I personally think are unjust, or which I do not generally agree with. But that's not terribly relevant either.) What I am asking is, very simply, how anyone can force Spamhaus to honor this judgment and pay up.
Since I don't think they have any U.S. assets of any kind whatsoever, nothing can be seized in the U.S. I suppose the spammers here who brought the suit could agitate for "justice" and try to squeeze blood from a turnip, but how? They could go to the UK and petition the courts there, I suppose, but the UK courts aren't obligated to enforce a civil ruling from a U.S. jurisdiction.
Similarly, your Microsoft analogy from a couple posts back is flawed, because Microsoft is a true multinational corporation with a real presence in Germany, and they have real assets that can be seized there. But while Germany might have the power to seize assets of Microsoft in Germany, it certainly can't seize assets held in another country without the cooperation of that country.
Your talk about what is OK or not OK to "publish" in various locales/jurisdictions is interesting but hardly relevant. I publish material routinely on my blog which is legal in the U.S., but is illegal in many other countries. If someone sues me in Turkey for something I post that he believes is defamatory to Islam, or the country of Turkey (it's illegal by Turkish law to disparage Turkey or "Turkishness"), do you think I'm going to hop on a plane and submit to their legal system? Absolutely not. Do you think I'm going to pay up if they fine me? No way. Would I deliver myself to their prison system? I don't think so!
So, I can totally understand why the Spamhaus folks would choose not to show up in a U.S. court to defend themselves and run the risk of lending more credence to an already questionable legal proceeding.
The problem with the notion of "universal competency" (courts that claim competency to hear cases outside their national borders) and so-called "long arm" legal tactics is that national sovereignty suffers as a result. I might add that sovereignty is something guaranteed by the UN, at least in principle.
You speak of how doing business in another country opens a company up to that country's laws. True enough, but again, it's a matter of enforcement. China prohibits direct access to all kinds of things, but the U.S. State Department actively works to make resources illegally available to Chinese citizens. OK, so this is lawbreaking sponsored by a government, not a company, but the principle applies similarly. Furthermore, while the ABC Company might be headquartered in Nebraska but do business in Thailand, that doesn't mean ABC Company has to have a physical presence in Thailand to do business there. If ABC Company runs afoul of some law in Thailand, they might be fined for it (especially if it's a civil and not a criminal matter). Should they choose not to pay the fine, there are many means that the country could bring to bear -- network filtering for an internet company, or blocking shipments of physical goods at the border. But they can't go to the State of Nebraska, or the U.S. federal government, and demand that money. (Well, they can, but they probably won't get it...)
And anyway, since it has been stated numerous times (including in articles linked from this Slashdot story) that there's no way for this judgment to be enforced in any way against Spamhaus, I have to ask again, how exactly can Spamhaus be forced to do anything in this matter? They can't. I challenge you to explain, in detail, what mechanism that could be brought to bear and force them to accept the judgment and pay the fine?
This has nothing to do with right and wrong. This has nothing to do with petty grudges, or what you or I personally feel about either party involved. (Personally, I think spammers were scum, but I have read that Spamhaus essentially forced or blackmailed many ISPs into using their services, basically by blocking any ISPs that didn't join up. So I don't see how either party has clean hands.) My one and only interest is in determining how this judgment can be enforced.
Then, when you finally realize that enforcement of judgments is what gives courts their power, maybe you'll understand that yes, Spamhaus really can ignore the U.S. courts in this case. The same way I happily ignore the laws and courts of repressive countries every day of my life. Maybe when the commandos come in the night and take me away to face trial or prison somewhere else, then they'll have the jurisdiction they need. Until then...