A businessman has won what is believed to be the first victory of its kind by claiming damages from a company which sent him e-mail spam. Nigel Roberts, who lives in Alderney in the Channel Islands, took action against Media Logistics UK over junk e-mails in his personal account.
Under new European laws, companies can be sued for sending unwanted e-mails. An EU spokesperson noted that "European Union is _NOT_ the United States. The amount of spam coming from the United States each day is simply incredible. They (Americans) seem unwilling to do much about it, at least anything effective. We are approaching it from a different direction."
The Stirlingshire-based firm has agreed to pay 270 pounds compensation to Mr Roberts, who runs an internet business.
Three years ago the EU passed an anti-spam law, the directive on privacy and telecommunications, which gave individuals the right to fight the growing tide of unwanted e-mail by allowing them to claim damages. Some 'technical specialists' employed by European Union will, on request, investigate the 'true source' of the questionable email and assist the users in filing appropriate, and realistic claims.
Mr Roberts received unwanted e-mail adverts for a contract car firm and a fax broadcasting business and decided to take action against the company.
The company filed an acknowledgement of the claim at Colchester County Court but did not defend it and a judge ruled in favour of Mr Roberts.
In an out-of-court agreement Media Logistics agreed to pay Mr Roberts damages of 270 pounds plus his 30 pound filing fee, and other expenses.
Mr Roberts said he had limited his claim to a maximum of 300 pounds in order to qualify to file it as a small claim.
He said: "This may be a tiny victory but perhaps now spammers will begin to realise that people don't have to put up with their e-mail inboxes being filled with unwanted junk. "
No-one from Media Logistics UK was available for comment.
A spokesman for the Information Commissioner's Office, the watchdog who oversees the Data Protection Act, said it was the first case of its kind he had heard of.
He said: "What I can say is that I haven't heard of anyone doing so and we haven't taken a case under that legislation, but things are going to be changing here in EU where spam is concerned. "
Story from BBC NEWS:Copyright 2005 BBC MMV
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