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Date: April 10, 2005
Level: Pre-Intermediate +
Downloads: This Lesson (Word Doc) | Class Handout (Word Doc) | Class Handout (PDF)

THE ARTICLE

For the first time in American legal history, a “spammer”, or sender of junk e-mails, has been jailed. Jeremy Jaynes, 30, was sentenced to nine years in prison for using false Internet addresses to send millions of e-mail advertisements. He is said to have sent ten million unwanted mails a day; thousands of innocent, unaware people fell for his fake products and services, which included the usual variety of pornography and Viagra-related goods. He is reputed to have earned up to $750,000 per month. Jaynes was considered to be a big fish in the spamming world, one of the world’s top ten spammers. His lawyers are appealing the sentence, which they say is far too harsh and doesn’t fit the crime. They contend that even though the profits from his shady business afforded him a luxury mansion in Virginia, Jaynes is really a philanthropist who built homes for poor people and donated money to charities. Despite ripping off millions of people, he told the court he “didn’t intend to cause harm to anybody”. In his defense he said: “I can guarantee the court I will not be involved in the e-mail marketing business again.”

WARM UPS

1. CHAT: Talk in pairs or groups about: spam / e-mail / Internet / pornography / Viagra / big fish / luxury mansion / charities.

For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

2. SPAM BRAINSTORM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “spam”. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.

3. SPAM LAWS:

  1. How much spam do you receive every day / every week? What kind of spam is it? Do you read it? How do you deal with it? How does it make you feel? What would you like to say to the spammers?
  2. Brainstorm all the different kinds of spam (e.g. Viagra, dating agencies, free credit cards, “I need to deposit $25,000,000 from my deceased uncle’s will into your bank account”…)
  3. In pairs / groups, make a law that deals with spammers. Decide what kind of sentence you would give to the various types of spam that were brainstormed above (e.g. two years in prison for a Viagra spammer …)
  4. Change partners / groups and compare your laws and sentences.

4. OPINIONS: Talk about the following opinions based on the news article.

  1. Nine years in prison for a spammer isn’t long enough.
  2. Education is the key to stop spamming. If people didn’t buy the stuff, spam would disappear.
  3. Spam doesn’t harm anybody.
  4. Software companies should make better software to block spam.
  5. Many people do not realize their e-mail address is as important as their home address.
  6. Old people are easy targets. Spammers should get heavy prison sentences.
  7. I’m worried a virus from a spam mail might infect my computer.
  8. Dangerous criminal gangs are behind a lot of spam. It is as serious as drug trafficking.
  9. I want to know what happens when spammers start spamming mobile phones.
  10. Why is it called “spam”? Seems a stupid word.

 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. WORD SEARCH: Use your dictionary / computer to find word partners (collocates), other meanings, synonyms or more information on the words ‘legal’ and ‘history’.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true or false:

  1. Someone who poisoned tins of meat has been jailed.  T / F
  2. It is the first time a spammer has been convicted in America.  T / F
  3. The spammer sent ten billion e-mails a day.  T / F
  4. The spammer earned over a million dollars a week.  T / F
  5. The spammer liked to catch big fish.  T / F
  6. His lawyers are appealing the sentence, which they say is far too harsh.  T / F
  7. The spammer is really a philanthropist who built homes for poor people.  T / F
  8. The spammer said he wants to be involved in fighting spam in the future.  T / F

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

(a)

jailed

believed

(b)

unwanted

swindling

(c)

fell for

imprisoned

(d)

fake

severe

(e)

reputed

crooked

(f)

a big fish

were taken in by

(g)

harsh

mean

(h)

shady

bogus

(i)

ripping off

unsolicited

(j)

intend

top dog

4. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a)

legal

Internet addresses

(b)

sentenced to

have earned up to $750,000

(c)

false

business

(d)

people fell

fish

(e)

He is reputed to

the sentence

(f)

considered to be a big

for his fake products

(g)

His lawyers are appealing

harm to anybody

(h)

shady

history

(i)

ripping

nine years

(j)

didn’t intend to cause

off millions of people

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL: Fill the gaps with the words in the column on the right.

Spammer imprisoned for nine years

For the first time in American __________ history, a “spammer”, or sender of junk e-mails, has been jailed. Jeremy Jaynes, 30, was sentenced to nine years in prison for using __________Internet addresses to send millions of e-mail advertisements. He is said to have sent ten million unwanted mails a day; thousands of innocent, __________people fell for his fake products and services, which included the usual variety of pornography and Viagra-related goods. He is __________to have earned up to $750,000 per month. Jaynes was considered to be a big __________in the spamming world, one of the world’s top ten spammers. His lawyers are appealing the sentence, which they say is far too harsh and doesn’t __________the crime. They contend that even though the profits from his shady business afforded him a __________mansion in Virginia, Jaynes is really a philanthropist who built homes for poor people and donated money to charities. Despite __________off millions of people, he told the court he “didn’t intend to cause harm to anybody”. In his defense he said: “I can guarantee the court I will not be involved in the e-mail marketing business again.”

 

 

reputed
legal
fit
false
ripping
luxury
fish
unaware

2. TRUE/FALSE: Check your answers to the T/F exercise.

3. SYNONYMS: Check your answers to the synonyms exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH: Check your answers to the phrase match exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Make notes for questions you would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.


 
 

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS: Ask the discussion questions you thought of above to your partner / group / class. Pool the questions for everyone to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: In pairs/groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Each student surveys class members independently and reports back to their original partner/  group to compare their findings.

5. ‘LEGAL’ / ‘HISTORY’: Make questions based on your findings from pre-reading activity #1.

6. DISCUSSION:

  1. What was interesting in this article?
  2. Were you surprised by anything in this article?
  3. Were you happy about anything in this article?
  4. What do you think of Jeremy Jaynes?
  5. Would you do what he did for $750,000 a month?
  6. How do you feel when you see a spam mail in your in-box?
  7. Do you ever read all of a spam mail?
  8. Have you ever been tempted to buy something from a spam mail?
  9. Do you always click the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the mail?
  10. How do you protect your e-mail address?
  11. Are you happy about putting your personal information on the Internet?
  12. Is nine years a fair sentence in the case of Jeremy Jaynes?
  13. Do you think this sentence will deter other spammers?
  14. Which adjective would you use to describe spammers?
  15. Which animal would you associate with spammers?
  16. If you met someone who regularly spammed you, what would you say to them?
  17. Jeremy Jaynes gave lots of money to poor people. Is he a good guy?
  18. Jeremy Jaynes said he’d never do such a thing again. Is he a good guy?
  19. Did you like this discussion?
  20. Teacher / Student additional questions.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find information on spam. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. JEREMY’S LAWYER: Imagine you are a lawyer defending Jeremy Jaynes. Write down at least five reasons why you think nine years is too long for his crime. State your reasons in a court case role play in your next class.

4. SPAM DANGERS: Write a short article titled “The dangers of spam”. Talk about your article in your next class

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

  1. Someone who poisoned tins of meat has been jailed.  F
  2. It is the first time a spammer has been convicted in America.  T
  3. The spammer sent ten billion e-mails a day.  F
  4. The spammer earned over a million dollars a week.  F
  5. The spammer liked to catch big fish.  F
  6. His lawyers are appealing the sentence, which they say is far too harsh.  T
  7. The spammer is really a philanthropist who built homes for poor people.  T
  8. The spammer said he wants to be involved in fighting spam in the future.  F

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a)

jailed

imprisoned

(b)

unwanted

unsolicited

(c)

fell for

were taken in by

(d)

fake

bogus

(e)

reputed

believed

(f)

a big fish

top dog

(g)

harsh

severe

(h)

shady

crooked

(i)

ripping off

swindling

(j)

intend

mean

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

legal

history

(b)

sentenced to

nine years

(c)

false

Internet addresses

(d)

people fell

for his fake products

(e)

He is reputed to

have earned up to $750,000

(f)

considered to be a big

fish

(g)

His lawyers are appealing

the sentence

(h)

shady

business

(i)

ripping

off millions of people

(j)

didn’t intend to cause

harm to anybody

GAP FILL:

Spammer imprisoned for nine years

For the first time in American legal history, a “spammer”, or sender of junk e-mails, has been jailed. Jeremy Jaynes, 30, was sentenced to nine years in prison for using false Internet addresses to send millions of e-mail advertisements. He is said to have sent ten million unwanted mails a day; thousands of innocent, unaware people fell for his fake products and services, which included the usual variety of pornography and Viagra-related goods. He is reputed to have earned up to $750,000 per month. Jaynes was considered to be a big fish in the spamming world, one of the world’s top ten spammers. His lawyers are appealing the sentence, which they say is far too harsh and doesn’t fit the crime. They contend that even though the profits from his shady business afforded him a luxury mansion in Virginia, Jaynes is really a philanthropist who built homes for poor people and donated money to charities. Despite ripping off millions of people, he told the court he “didn’t intend to cause harm to anybody”. In his defense he said: “I can guarantee the court I will not be involved in the e-mail marketing business again.”

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