Spamhuas Thumbs Nose at Eleven Million Dollar Judgment Against It

Anti-spam group says will not pay; plans to keep company on spam list By CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

The head of an organization that fights unwanted bulk e-mail said Friday that an Illinois company will remain on its block list despite a court order and a steep monetary judgment.

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Spamhaus Project, an international anti-spam organization, to pay $11.7 million in damages to Wheeling-based e360 Insight LLC for blacklisting the company.

U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras also ordered Spamhaus to post a notice on its Web site stating that e360 Insight is not a spammer.

The judge's order noted that Spamhaus initially defended the case, but then withdrew. Without a challenge from Spamhaus, the judge wrote, "we find that Spamhaus has wrongfully placed Plaintiffs on its blacklist of companies who have sent spam e-mail."

Spamhaus suggested it did not defend the case because it did not believe a court in Illinois had jurisdiction over the U.K.-based organization.

Steve Linford, the head of the U.K.-based Spamhaus, insisted the company sends spam that is illegal in the United Kingdom and said Spamhaus will continue to list the Illinois company on its block list.

Internet service providers use Spamhaus lists to help identify spammers and block e-mail coming from their Internet addresses. The listing hurt the Illinois company's ability to do business as a direct e-mail marketer, the lawsuit claimed.

"Spam is a big problem, but the way Spamhaus administers its blocking technology is not a reasonable solution to this problem," said Dave Linhardt, president of e360 Insight.

His company signs up people for direct marketing e-mails through its Web site, and the people who sign up can control how often they receive e-mails and stop them entirely any time, Linhardt said.

"Our client does not send spam e-mails. Our client only sends e-mail messages to persons opting in to a list where they agree to accept e-mail announcements," Bart Loethen, a Chicago attorney representing e360 Insight, said Friday in a written response to The Associated Press.

Linford said Spamhaus has no offices, agents or business connections in Illinois.

"The Illinois court very simply had no jurisdiction," he wrote in an e-mail to the AP.

Loethen said if Spamhaus ignores the ruling "we will seek alternate means of enforcing the judgment through the court system in the U.S. and potentially the U.K."

"Spamhaus is thumbing its nose at the U.S. courts by failing to participate in the process, failing to provide information in the court case, and failing to comply with the orders of the court," Loethen said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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Carla K. Johnson AP
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