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Spamhaus Fine Reduced From $11.7M To $27K 378

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-month's-beer-budget dept.
eldavojohn writes "In 2006, anti-spam crusader Spamhaus was sued for 'defamation, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage and interference with existing contracts' after blocking 'promotional e-mails' from e360. What with the case being in Illinois and Spamhaus being a British outfit, Spamhaus didn't bloody care. So, e360 was awarded $11.7 million in damages, which was later thrown out in an appeals court with a request for the lower court to come up with actual damage estimates instead of the ridiculous $11.7 million. (e360 had originally stated $135M, then $122M, and then $30M as sums of damages.) As a result, the actual damages were estimated to be just $27,002. While this is a massive reduction in the fine and a little bit more realistic, I think it is important to note that Spamhaus is a service that people proactively utilize. They don't force you to use their anti-spam identification system — it's totally opt-in. And now they're being fined what a foreign judge found to be 'one month of additional work on behalf of the customers' to a company they allegedly incorrectly identified as spam. Sad and scary precedent."
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Spamhaus Fine Reduced From $11.7M To $27K

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  • by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:38AM (#32591022)

    is that e360 managed to judge-shop to find a judge so fucking stupid that he didn't simply and correctly say "fuck you, piss off and take your nuisance lawsuit with you, SPAMMER."

    • by Fringe (6096) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:41AM (#32591074)
      He didn't have any alternative; SpamHaus didn't show. The judge isn't allowed to take sides or consider evidence that wasn't presented. If this wasn't the case, you would never be able to successfully sue for redress; the other side could simply fail to show up.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        He didn't have any alternative; SpamHaus didn't show. The judge isn't allowed to take sides or consider evidence that wasn't presented.

        If this wasn't the case, you would never be able to successfully sue for redress; the other side could simply fail to show up.

        No the problem was they initially turned up and then walked out. No precedent, no story. Spamhaus/their lawyers f**ked up, the result was they had to pay a spammer for the f**kup. If they hadn't showed in the first place there would have been no judgement and no jurisdiction.

        • by mcvos (645701)

          I didn't know they originally did show up. It makes sense that if somebody sues you in some country where you don't live nor have any legal presence, they can just go screw themselves until they finally decide to sue you on your home turf.

        • by tomhudson (43916)
          They did not "originally show up". Get your facts straight.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            They did not "originally show up". Get your facts straight.

            They did to have the case moved to federal court, when the judge declined their request they walked out. Get *YOUR* facts straight. As an RBL operator I have been following the case closely since it inception, I think I know what happened as I have read all the documents!

        • No.

          No the problem was they initially turned up and then walked out.

          "Spamhaus didn't mount a defense in the case; the ruling was a default judgment in absence of counterarguments." [cnet.com] That's a little grey, but it sounds to me like Spamhaus didn't initially show up. If you've got a citation that suggests otherwise, please post it.

          Spamhaus/their lawyers f**ked up

          How do you figure? Spamhaus (wisely, IMHO) looked at the case, decided they could spend boatloads of money fighting a frivolous lawsuit which they would *probably* -- but NOT necessarily -- win, or since they are not in the U.S.' juri

          • This is a civil suit, not a criminal matter. So their CEO is not personally liable. The whole point of a corporation is that liability is with the corporate entity itself. So if I run a business and I get sued, my personal assets like house and so on cannot be taken by the suit. It is limited to the business.

            So their CEO would have a problem if he came to the US. It isn't like they'd throw him in jail. The only way Spamhaus would have a problem is if they opened a US branch. Then the spammers could go after

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            No.

            No the problem was they initially turned up and then walked out.

            "Spamhaus didn't mount a defense in the case; the ruling was a default judgment in absence of counterarguments." [cnet.com] That's a little grey, but it sounds to me like Spamhaus didn't initially show up. If you've got a citation that suggests otherwise, please post it.

            Judgement made in default != default judgement. Default Judgement = the defense is a no show. Judgement made in default = defense showed but stayed silent (or in the case of Spamhaus, walked out (= refused to answer) when the judge ruled that the court had jurisdiction)

            Spamhaus/their lawyers f**ked up

            How do you figure? Spamhaus (wisely, IMHO) looked at the case, decided they could spend boatloads of money fighting a frivolous lawsuit which they would *probably* -- but NOT necessarily -- win, or since they are not in the U.S.' jurisdiction, they could save themselves the worry and the stress by ignoring the lawsuit. The court that awarded the win to the spammer has no jurisdiction in the U.K. so as long as Spamhaus' CEO doesn't come to the U.S., what difference does it make to him? It's not like he's going to be extradited for this. If somebody sues me in a foreign country that I never intend to visit, the odds of me spending any money or effort to fight the lawsuit are somewhere between zero and none. Spamhaus did likewise.

            Problem is Spamhaus originally appointed lawyers to go to the court. This was the mistake, when the lawyers appeared for Spamhaus, Spamhaus effectively 'appeared in court' (even if to contest jurisdiction). They should have, as you indicat

      • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @12:27PM (#32591510)

        Actually the judge could have taken a side when e360 Insight got the case admitted by falsifying the record that Spamhaus was in fact an Illinois company. He/She could have easily thrown it out right there.

        • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @12:45PM (#32591704) Journal

          From what I remember, that's not what happened. They testified that Spamhaus was conducting business in Illinois. Which they were, since they were providing their service to people and businesses in Illinois. The judge did the right thing by applying the law and not what Skuld-Chan thinks is "common sense".

          • by Firethorn (177587) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @12:58PM (#32591850) Homepage Journal

            Which they were, since they were providing their service to people and businesses in Illinois.

            Internet breaks things sometimes, but in this case they weren't even 'conducting business in Il' any more than a mail order company would by mailing purchases there.

            No employees in the state, no physical premesis in the state.

            I think that even the reduced judgement is going to have the problem of how can you go about collecting from Spamhaus? 360 has likely spent far more on this than spamhaus. In order to collect, they'll have to go to Spamhaus, THEN they'll start with the obstructing using their native country's legal system.

            Since most countries won't extradite or hold penalties for stuff that isn't illegal in their home country, they'll essentially have to get Spamhaus retried in Britain.

      • by Patch86 (1465427) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:06PM (#32591954)

        They were suing in the wrong flipping jurisdiction.

        Spamhaus is a UK organisation. They do not have any business presence in Illinois, or the US in general, as far as I know. Suing them in Illinois is about as useful as suing them in North Korea.

        If they really wanted damages then they would have sued them in the UK (a country which incidentally has notoriously strict defamation laws). The fact Spamhaus "didn't bloody care" was because it was a frivolous lawsuit 1000's of miles from home.

        I'm guessing the reason they didn't is because the UK legal system isn't so easy to shop for an easy win.

  • by Cheerio Boy (82178) * on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:41AM (#32591064) Homepage Journal
    Spamhaus, like any other RBL, has a removal procedure that e360 could have used. Provided e360 could prove they weren't spammers Spamhaus likely would have removed them from the database without issue and without cost.

    So why didn't e360 try that? I see no info that they tried that at all. (Likely because they couldn't prove they weren't spamming people.) Instead they just sued Spamhaus in an effort to dry them up and get them out of the way.

    As the summary pointed out Spamhaus is a voluntary service. Nobody is being forced to use Spamhaus. So why on earth should Spamhaus be forced to pay any damages at all? It's just insane that upon going through the court system _twice_ someone didn't ask "Well e360 can you prove you aren't spamming people?".

    Anecdotal note: Many many moons ago there used to be an RBL named the BLARS Block List.

    What Blars (yes it was a handle for an actual person) would do is block whole netblocks and then anybody who would complain he'd charge $250/hour to get removed IF he chose to do so. And you would be charged the fee even if he chose not to unblock you. So looking at that right there shows you what I consider the openly worst of behavior for an RBL service. Spamhaus is definitely not that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mea37 (1201159)

      I support anti-spam efforts, but I support the rule of law more. So:

      Complaining about how the court handled the case shows you're ignoring one key fact: Spamhaus chose not to appear in court, and by doing so tied the court's hands. Bottom line, although you might want to evaluate this on the assumption that e360 really was spamming, when only one party shows up, the court must take that party's story at face value and cannot make assumptions about whether that party might really be telling half-truths.

      Sp

      • by LingNoi (1066278)

        So firstly criminal law doesn't come in here so your story about beating up a passer-by is not accurate.

        Secondly, the US law doesn't apply to the rest of the world. Spamhaus chose not to appear in court because they:

        1 - Weren't even in america
        2 - Weren't doing anything illegal in their own country.

        Since you support the rule of law I fully expect you to also support the deportation of Americans to the middle east to be put on trial for whatever stupid laws they have over there that don't apply to the US.

        • by mea37 (1201159)

          You don't think there are civil penalties for beating someone up? Might want to fact-check that one, chief.

          Spamhaus was acting in America regardless of where their offices are. They are subject to U.S. law, just as Google is subject to Chinese law if/when they operate in China (to cite just one recent example of many).

      • by Cheerio Boy (82178) * on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @12:43PM (#32591682) Homepage Journal
        You can argue about them not showing up in court all you want but they did not show up in court because they knew the Illinois court had NO jurisdiction on their actions. Read their take on it here:

        http://www.spamhaus.org/organization/statement.lasso?ref=3

        Then read a breakdown from 2006 by Groklaw here:

        http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=2006102700261694

        Spamhaus is a FOREIGN company doing business on FOREIGN land. They have no need to show up for a court appearance in what amounts to a provincial court in another country.

        If e360 had been based in Upper Monrovia or some similarly remote place other than the US this would have never have flown. And even if it had flown due to judge-shopping they would still be right to ignore it due to jurisdiction. The only reason this has gotten this far is that the US court system is broken and arrogant enough to think it applies to the entire world.

        Got a problem with a foreign company doing business on their own soil? Take it up with your government. _Your_ courts have no jurisdiction to prosecute.
      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:13PM (#32592036)

        And finally, what does the fact that other RBL's have behaved worse have to do with anything? "Yeah, Bob punched someone in the face, but Bill over here beat people with lead pipes! Why should we worry about Bob?"

        No. That's wrong. Because SpamHaus does not block anything.

        The more correct analogy would be if you ask SpamHaus what their opinion is of Bob and they say "I don't like Bob".

        Then when you don't do business with Bob, Bob gets mad and sues SpamHaus for damages.

        And you ask someone else and they say that they don't like Bob OR his family.

        Yes, that is what this is about. People asking other people what their opinion is of the people trying to send them email.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hedwards (940851)
          But, if you make it more accurate then it actually is a reasonable position. If somebody asks you what you think of Bob and you say that "He's an untrustworthy cheat" and they choose not to do business. You're still lliable for defamation provided you can't cough up evidence that Bob is indeed and untrustworthy cheat.

          Which is essentially what happened here, when Spamhaus didn't show up to defend itself the court was forced to rule against it. But even if they had shown up it wouldn't necessarily have bee
    • by kindbud (90044)

      Nobody is being forced to use Spamhaus.

      Irrelevant. Nobody is forced to read the newspaper. The newspaper publisher can still be held liable for slander and libel.

      So why on earth should Spamhaus be forced to pay any damages at all?

      Duh. They lost the case. Even if they had showed up to defend the suit, they may still have lost. Losers pay. Otherwise, what is the point of civil lawsuits?

      It's just insane that upon going through the court system _twice_ someone didn't ask "Well e360 can you prove you aren

    • by Sleepy (4551)

      Only a fool would ever have used Blars, even when it was "maintained". They blacklisted us and sure enough, we heard from a few fools complaining that our mailserver was at fault for not 'delivering" email to their servers (which used Blars).

      They didn't learn.. years after ORDB went offline, the ORDB folks did a "blacklist the whole world" trick to get people to stop addressing their domain/network (since so many admins were "using" them without ever subscribing to the RBL alerts or checking their homepage

  • On the fence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:41AM (#32591068) Journal

    Well, I mean, the reason e360 got awarded anything is because Spamhaus "Didn't Bloody Care".

    So I mean, yeah, its scary that they lost a case where essentially they incorrectly identified spam (an easy mistake), for an opt in service no less. But its not that scary when you hear that they didn't do anything to defend themselves.

    If you are on a golf course, looking back at the tee-box, and someone yells, "FOOUR" at you - what do you do?

    • Re:On the fence (Score:5, Informative)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:47AM (#32591116) Journal

      So I mean, yeah, its scary that they lost a case where essentially they incorrectly identified spam (an easy mistake) ...

      Who decided that they were incorrectly identified as spam? From the article:

      e360 claimed that about 3 billion of the more than 6.6 billion emails it sent on behalf of clients

      Please do tell me what kind of business (one that I've never heard of, mind you) sends out e-mails totaling the world's population and in what manner is that legitimate?

      Curiously, nowhere does e360 have to defend this action. So, yeah, you can be on the fence if you think that any spammer should be able to sue Spamhaus (a free service) in any country on the globe and expect Spamhaus to front money for representation and whatnot in all those countries. Sounds like a pretty good strategy for spammers to take out Spamhaus since it's probably a growing thorn in their side.

      As the submitter, that's where I stand on this issue.

      • Re:On the fence (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @12:03PM (#32591300)

        Curiously, nowhere does e360 have to defend this action.

        It's not curious, Spamhaus didn't show up for court. The only evidence the court had to go by was e360's. It doesn't matter if a second grader could refute the evidence, there was nobody there to refute it.

        e360 basically won by default.

        • It's not curious, Spamhaus didn't show up for court. The only evidence the court had to go by was e360's. It doesn't matter if a second grader could refute the evidence, there was nobody there to refute it.

          Refuting the "evidence" should be secondary to establishing jurisdiction.

          Since SpamHaus was not operating in that Court's jurisdiction, shouldn't that have cause the case to be thrown out?

          Otherwise, anyone anywhere in the world can sue you and you'd have the burden of representing yourself in all the diff

        • If someone sues you, and you fail to show, the court will nearly always rule in their favour. The reason is that in civil court, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that their evidence is more likely than yours. So if you are not there to present any evidence, well then they win. For that matter they'll usually win in summary judgment, since there'll be no one to oppose the motion.

          As such, if you get sued in a court that has the ability to enforce sanctions on you, you'd better s

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        I won't argue that e360 are spammers. Anyone sending billions of promotional emails on behalf of anyone is clearly sending spam.

        My question is, is Spamhaus the one who once you were on their list for whatever arbitrary reason, you couldn't ask, beg, or pay to get off of it, and used arbitrarily large blocks to accomplish it (like /8's in a few circumstances)? Looking at their site, you can now, but was that the situation when the lawsuit began? I know most were cooperative,

      • While I agree they are spammers, thats just how the law works.

        If I start a case against you for libel and slander against me, and the only evidence is that which I propose - the courts are going to have a hard time siding with you if you don't make any acknowledgement of it what so ever.

      • by kindbud (90044)

        Please do tell me what kind of business (one that I've never heard of, mind you) sends out e-mails totaling the world's population and in what manner is that legitimate?

        e360 sends campaigns on behalf of many, many clients who hire them to do it. It's their business model. Any one of their clients sending that many emails in would be pretty far outside the norm. And also, let me remind you that a recipient can receive more than one email, so comparing it to the population of the earth is pretty ridiculou

      • Check the related stories...

        "Judge In e360 Vs. Comcast Rules e360 a Spammer "

        http://it.slashdot.org/story/08/04/11/1511255/Judge-In-e360-Vs-Comcast-Rules-e360-a-Spammer [slashdot.org]

      • All Spamhaus would have needed to do is pay for one hour of a lawyer's time to write a motion to dismiss, and let it stand with that as their sole defense. A decent judge would have then thrown it out. I'm sure the EFF or similar would have gladly supplied a free lawyer.

        But in the U.S. court system, it takes *SOMEONE* asking for it to be dismissed. Judges don't often have a lot of leeway if it even vaguely looks like the suit MIGHT be legit. But as soon as the defendant asks for it to be dismissed, the

        • Re:On the fence (Score:4, Insightful)

          by russotto (537200) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:11PM (#32592014) Journal

          All Spamhaus would have needed to do is pay for one hour of a lawyer's time to write a motion to dismiss, and let it stand with that as their sole defense. A decent judge would have then thrown it out. I'm sure the EFF or similar would have gladly supplied a free lawyer.

          Suppose I got ticked off over something you wrote on Slashdot, and sued you in a foreign jurisdiction. Would you pay for an hour of a foreign lawyer's time to show up and deny jurisdiction?

      • by blair1q (305137)

        I don't suppose Spamhaus is actually obligated to pay this fine, either, unless they were sued in the country they're actually in.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Well, I mean, the reason e360 got awarded anything is because Spamhaus "Didn't Bloody Care".

      They didn't care, because they're a British company not under the jurisdiction of a US court on the matter. They basically said "please fuck off" and walked out. From one of the links ...

      Default judgments obtained in US county, state or federal courts have no validity in the UK and can not be enforced under the British legal system... As spamming is illegal in the UK, an Illinois court ordering a British organizati

      • by mitgib (1156957)
        If Spamhaus has any assets in the US, i.e. a PayPal account, eBay would be on the top of my list of places to have the Court through the local county sheriff liquidate Spamhaus' US held assets. But since their was an appeal, I am thinking Spamhaus will satisfy the judgment since they were the only ones who could benefit from an appeal, they are obviously active in the case now, even if it was a default judgment.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      If you are on a golf course, looking back at the tee-box, and someone yells, "FOOUR" at you - what do you do?

      I'd duck, then I'd wait until he reached his ball and then I'd brain him with my 4-iron because he hit into my group.

      Now, if he'd been in the tee-box on an adjacent hole, I'd merely duck.

  • Goodluckwiththat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:43AM (#32591080)
    Spamhaus is as likely to pay $27K as LimeWire is to pay $1.5 trillion.
  • My Support (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:43AM (#32591086)
    Spamhaus has my ultimate support. What a colossal waste of the taxpayers money by e360 trying to sue a foreign, non-profit company for allegedly interfering with commerce. All Spamhaus has to do is tell e360 to go piss up a rope, which they in effect, did. Did e360 stop them, hell no!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nematode (197503)

      The amount of taxpayer money involved in having a court enter a default judgment is effectively zero.

      There's a little bit of time for the court clerk to enter the case on the docket, then the default judgment is signed. Not much more to it than that.

      • by gad_zuki! (70830)

        >The amount of taxpayer money involved in having a court enter a default judgment is effectively zero.

        Are you kidding. Just an hour of the courts time (the court employees, minions, infrastructure, salary, benefits, pensions, etc) and an hour of labor from dozens of people. An hour of one court room is probably a real dollar amount of more than the damn settlement. This is frivolous. This is costly to tax payers. Lets at least accept the real costs here, regardless of the merits or outcomes of the case.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:45AM (#32591094)
    After reading about this law suit we need a new blacklist category for people to opt into. Dirtbag companies who sue too much. e360 can then top the list. Who wants to do business with a company that sues like this? Personally I would be happy to opt into a blacklist containing the likes of MPAA, RIAA, e360, patent trolls, and other companies who abuse the legal system. Regardless of the lawsuit I would want my email service to block e360 emails.
    • What other domains does e360 use to send its spam? Me thinks I'll add them to my OpenBSD traplist.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      A fine idea. it could be referred to as an "opt in" list of people who want their "services".

      Honesty is punishable, therefore creative dishonesty is a reasonable response.

  • will never see a dime. It cost them more to litigate then they earned from the judgement
  • You don't just get to decide for yourself *after you've already begun the process* that it no longer applies to you. Once you start showing up to court, you have to continue showing up... except in the very rare case where you're provisionally appearing strictly for the purpose of debating proper jurisdiction. This is like saying "time out... hold on, have we started playing the game yet?".

    After you submit to jurisdiction, it takes a judge's ruling to say you're not. If you just stop showing up the judge ha

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Once you start showing up to court, you have to continue showing up... except in the very rare case where you're provisionally appearing strictly for the purpose of debating proper jurisdiction.

      I thought that's exactly what Spamhaus did.

    • Suppose a defendant shows up every day and loses the case in a court with jurisdiction in country A.

      Suppose the defendant does not live in or operate in country A. Suppose the defendant leaves country A and never comes back.

      How is the ruling going to be enforced?

  • It isn't a fine. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:48AM (#32591134) Homepage

    It is a damage award, and probably less than the plaintiffs paid their lawyers. It also isn't a "scary precedent". It isn't a precedent at all: it's what normally happens when you fail to show up and present your case.

    > ...foreign judge...

    So you feel that a USA court should refuse to hear a case brought by a USA plaintiff just because the defendent is foreign?

    If Spamhaus had bothered to show up and present a defense they could have gotten the case dismissed with prejudice and had a good shot at being awarded fees and expenses.

    • by ledow (319597) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:59AM (#32591274) Homepage

      Excuse me... I'm British and I want to sue you in a British court for something that isn't illegal in the US. The fact that you've never set foot in Britain doesn't matter. Get your arse over here within the next three weeks or I'll award me some of your money (which I can't force you to hand over either, and which has never been held in Britain) in your absence.

      Does that make more sense to you with the positions reversed?

      If you want to sue someone, you have to prove that they are conducting business in an area, that within that area they are breaking the law, and that they know that and can attend your court case. Otherwise, you're just making an *international* arse of yourself. It's a British company, operating in solely British territory, doing something that is perfectly legal in Britain. Why you think they should even ever have responded to the case is beyond me. It's called "jurisdiction" and never has the word applied more.

      Otherwise every crankpot will sue every foreign company on trumped-up charges, the companies might never attend the court in question because they would have to travel and/or hire representation, that the offence they are charged with might not even be illegal in their jurisdiction and yet, in their absence, you think that the case should default in your favour.

      I hereby sue Microsoft (US) for failing to offer Windows XP N (The EU edition) in their jurisdiction, or the US Customs for breaching the EU data protection laws that they never agree to abide by. If they don't appear in court, I win by default? Pfft.

      • by Nematode (197503)

        Before you can get a judgment against someone (at least in the US), the court has to have "personal jurisdiction" over them, and they have to be served with the summons and complaint.

        The problem in this case is that Spamhaus was sued in some random Illinois state court. Apparently it was served with the complaint, because it then appeared, and had the case removed to federal court. It then filed an answer to the complaint, before withdrawing the answer and not responding any further.

        Once Spamhaus was invo

        • by ari_j (90255)
          Correct. If you get served with process, show up in court. And if you have already appeared in court, don't just drop off the scene and hope for the best. A more interesting issue is whether Spamhaus is judgment-proof in the USA, with no assets that an American court could levy on. If so, then it doesn't really matter so much to them.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        You'd have a point, except that in this case you don't.

        Spamhaus did initially show up, which was an acknowledgement that the US court has jurisdiction. Had Spamhaus either entirely ignored the suit or stayed to convince the judge that they were a wholly foreign corporation with no US presence, that'd be fine. But they half-assed it, and so the judge had to provide a ruling; absent any representation for Spamhaus, a default damage award was entered.

      • It's a British company, operating in solely British territory, doing something that is perfectly legal in Britain. Why you think they should even ever have responded to the case is beyond me. It's called "jurisdiction" and never has the word applied more.

        Did this British company have any users of its service in the United States? I'm not a lawyer, but I'm sure a clever one could try and make a case for jurisdiction based on Spamhaus offering its services to Americans. Something along the lines of "Your honor, Spamhaus has admitted that thousands of companies in the United States currently employ its services in operating their mail servers. By this very admission, Spamhaus conducts business in the United States. Although it may not charge for these serv

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        How bout this.. You wanna sue me for selling you something over ebay and not providing the goods as promised.. You goto your local small claims court, you give them my information and address, They WILL issue me a summons to appear in court in the UK, if I do not show, you can take your judgement that you will doubtless win, and file it in my home jurisdiction and they WILL accept it, and they WILL attach a lien against my real property in your name, which will screw up my credit, and force payment to you b
    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      Why should they bother exactly? My understanding is that even if they loose it makes no difference to them because they're not even in the US.

      Do you really think they're taking this seriously? It's just another one of those lolamerica stories we hear over here.

    • Hence forth every US citizen will have to travel ANYWHERE in the world were ANYONE at all chooses to sue them for ANYTHING at all.

      This new law co-signed by the travel industry who would love to voice their support but are to busy singing "we're in the money, we're in the money".

      If you disagree with this new law then you are saying John Hasler is a twit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      "So you feel that a USA court should refuse to hear a case brought by a USA plaintiff just because the defendent is foreign?"

      No, but when the defendant is foreign and the defendant's actions took place on foreign soil, it seems a bit silly to try the defendant in a US court of law. Why not try the defendant in the jurisdiction where the defendant's actions actually took place, under the laws of that jurisdiction?
      • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @12:48PM (#32591744) Homepage

        Part of the theory is that you direct harm to a jurisdiction, you are subject to that jurisdiction. See Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calder_v._Jones [wikipedia.org]

        Now if you are in Spam, hijack a system in Korea to send spam to China, where should you be liable?

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by flibuste (523578)

          Now if you are in Spam, hijack a system in Korea to send spam to China, where should you be liable?

          You've answered your own question: See Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984)..

          Unless the code of law in USA takes precedence over the whole world (which a lot of people from the aforementioned country tend to think), jurisprudence in USA won't hitch the back of anyone in Korea, China, or UK for the matter...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Firethorn (177587)

          Now if you are in Spam, hijack a system in Korea to send spam to China, where should you be liable?

          I'm going to assume you meant 'Spain', not 'Spam' in the first instance.

          First, criminal jurisdiction can be different than civil jurisdiction, but what generally would happen is that the diplomats in Korea and Spain would conference to determine jurisdiction. China would have limited involvement, as 'spam' is a lower offense than hijacking a system. Anyways, determining jurisdiction would be a complicated, diplomatic, and political game. For example, Spain would likely refuse to extradite if Korea has su

    • So you feel that a USA court should refuse to hear a case brought by a USA plaintiff just because the defendent is foreign?

      Yes actually - a state court should refuse a case with a foreign litigant that does zero business in that state. They aren't support to take on cases like that. E360 Insight submitted a false report when they told the court that Spamhaus operated in Illinois.

  • Wow, impressive. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by seebs (15766) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:55AM (#32591220) Homepage

    I want a job where I get $27k for a month. ... But not if I have to be an OBVIOUS SPAMMER to do it, like e360, because I have ethics, unlike e360.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Skuld-Chan (302449)

      Keeping in mind the original lawsuit started back in 2006? So its more like 562 dollars a month.

  • by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:56AM (#32591228) Homepage Journal

    I think it is important to note that Spamhaus is a service that people proactively utilize. They don't force you to use their anti-spam identification system — it's totally opt-in. And now they're being fined what a foreign judge found to be 'one month of additional work on behalf of the customers' to a company they allegedly incorrectly identified as spam. Sad and scary precedent.

    I have it on very good authority that eldavojohn kills babies and eats them for breakfast. He also drove his last 5 employers/clients to insanity resulting in their bankruptcy, and in 2 cases suicide. He is a horrible evil person, and you should never associate with him or employ him.

    Remember, nobody's forced to listen to me so I should be allowed to say whatever the hell I want.

  • That is all that ever drives spam. If they are aiming to convince people they aren't spammers, they shouldn't put so much energy into chasing after money that they feel they could receive from sending out email.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @11:58AM (#32591268)

    While nobody likes spammers (except *maybe* their mothers) and Spamhaus is a great project and useful tool for fighting spam, there is still a problem here: As someone who is a mail admin for several companies, it's pretty outrageous when an RBL list marks you as a spammer (and we're not, of course). It can cost serious money when business emails aren't delivered, it can take serious time to resolve the problem, and it also causes embarrassment for the business.

    I don't know Spamhaus intimately, but for most RBL's there is no accountability or appeal. They get to publicly call you a bad name (intentionally damaging your reputation and encouraging others to act on it), and expect you to just take it. They act completely irresponsibly, and assert that, effectively, accountability doesn't scale -- they couldn't possibly review all the businesses they slander via their algorithm. That doesn't cut it.

    Imagine someone created an algorithm that claimed to detect people who are frauds via their online presence, and publicly posted its output. Imagine you were on that list and people stopped doing business with you. Is it permissible for the list's owners to say, 'well, false positives are too expensive to detect, so if you're a false positive on that list, too bad'?

    While RBLs are very helpful services, they must be accountable, just like everyone else in the world. Nobody else gets to say, 'it's just too expensive to be responsible for my actions'.

    • Except in this case, we're not talking about a company that got 'wrongly' flagged as spammers. These whorehoppers sued over 3 billion blocked emails. That's several times higher than the number of humans with internet access. Can you think of any legitimate reason for sending out that many emails?

    • by Random2 (1412773)

      Nobody else gets to say, 'it's just too expensive to be responsible for my actions'.

      Except for Oil companies, governments, mafia....

    • Consider it this way: you publish a list of criteria for a list and then publish the list. Others can do as they see fit. Seems like the damage comes from the others, not the list maker so long as they comply with their rules.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        This defense doesn't work for the torrent aggregation sites (Pirate Bay, Isohunt, etc.) and it would only work here if the various spam lists really were willing to staff the "unlist us" addresses as thoroughly as the "list us" addresses.

        I work at a nonprofit that has health care and gang outreach as two chunks of what we do. I have had emails inviting a group of people to a meeting around gang violence flagged as spam in the past, because the subject line was thought to be spammy. Heaven forfend that one

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
      That is a good argument, and you spin it pretty effectively. The one thing you fail to mention is that Spamhaus, for one, is an opt-in service, meaning that the individuals and businesses who decide to accept the false positives of Spamhaus' "slander via algorithm" have decided to do so on their own - no one is forcing them to take Spamhaus' word for it. Secondly, being a "spammer" isn't like pregnancy, it's not a binary option. Certainly there are people out there who think they're "informing the public
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gdr (107158)
        Newspapers are "opt-in" (you don't have to buy them) and they can still be sued for libel.
    • Well said, AC. On the other hand, to get around that you would only need to create a "Don't Like Their Email RBL" with the explanation "I received email that I don't like from these IP addresses". As long as no further claims are made about the emails or the IPs on the list, this is as legally actionable as someone saying they don't like Apple, Nike, and Starbucks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RandomFactor (22447)

      for most RBL's there is no accountability or appeal. They get to publicly call you a bad name (intentionally damaging your reputation and encouraging others to act on it), and expect you to just take it. They act completely irresponsibly, and assert that, effectively, accountability doesn't scale -- they couldn't possibly review all the businesses they slander via their algorithm. '.

      Spamhaus is no more accountable than the rest, but their removal mechanism is fast and clean. You're describing something more like SORBS that causes more harm than good in the fight against spam.

  • If they didn't care earlier, why should they care now?

    It's still ridiculous on top of being unenforceable. Maybe they should sue e360 in Britain for the lulz.

  • by kindbud (90044) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @12:14PM (#32591394) Homepage

    I think it is important to note that Spamhaus is a service that people proactively utilize. They don't force you to use their anti-spam identification system -- it's totally opt-in.

    People proactively buy the newspaper too. Doesn't mean the newspaper publisher can't be held liable for libel and slander. Spamhaus publishes a news report in DNS about which IP addresses are trustworthy. If they get it wrong and that harms someone, there is ample cause for a tort.

    That people opt-in to Spamhaus is not relevant.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sleepy (4551)

      Your analogy about newspagers is a fail - it is constructed wholly to support your argument, but it is ridiculous. If you would just READ the article you would know this was not a libel OR slander case.

      SpamHaus does not CAUSE anything. Spamhaus is a fact-based list which publishes addresses which send Unsolicited Bulk Email. You can not escape or spin your way past this fact (what planet are you from, anyways, where you would even TRY?)

      Next, SpamHaus has not control or access to my servers.

      If you are lookin

  • Now, I despise spam at least as much as anyone here... on the other hand, I *really* have issues with some of the blacklist projects. I think spamhous, and definitely dnlsorbs, has blacklisted *me*... or, rather, as near as I can tell, they blacklisted an ISP more than once... and the last time, I was on RCN in Chicago, which provides 'Net access for much of the city, and they blacklisted all or part of their *entire* address range.

    That's not acceptable.

    And it was a pain to get off. At least they're "slight

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Koutarou (38114)

      Spamhaus doesn't do a whole ISP-level block unless something pretty egregious is happening.

      The usual process goes:
      1. Complaint to ISP, no response
      2. /32 block, more spam, complaint to ISP, no response
      3. escalation to block somewhere between /25 and /29 depending on identification of block size, more spam, complaint to ISP, no response
      4. escalation to /24, more spam, complaint to ISP, no response
      5. escalation to ISP's corporate mail servers - usually something happens at this point when suits notice their ow

    • by rgviza (1303161)

      Exactly!

      A much better system would be a DNSWL. White list all the legitimate companies and throw them off when they spam people. That way you aren't saying anything bad about anyone. You are simply not saying something. Companies need to apply to be on the list and can get thrown off if they are proven to spam people.

      I guarantee it would be shorter list than a black list and would have none of the liability.

  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @12:33PM (#32591574) Homepage

    "NUTS"

    Frankly, cases and rulings like this illustrate just how out of control the judiciary is. We seriously should consider bringing back the practice of tar and feathering as a means to punish judges, especially unelected and unfirable for life Federal judges, offer them the choice: Resign or tar and feathers.

  • If e360 doesn't like Spamhaus, then don't use it! :)

    Also, e360 should tell all of its customers that in order to receive the 6 billion+ emails, that they should not use SpamHaus on their mail servers. Oh, wait....

    Wasn't there a case back of some company that made anti-spyware software that got sued by a company because their sw was labeled malware?

  • Keep in mind that Spamhaus DOES operate around the globe.
    from their site: [spamhaus.org]

    "To meet public demand for its DNSBLs, Spamhaus has built one of the largest DNS infrastructures in the world. Its network of over 60 public DNSBL servers spread across 18 countries serves many billions of DNSBL queries to the public every day, free of charge."

    for a business to operate equipment in a country, that equipment is required to follow laws pertaining to that country.

  • Let's hope that e360 spent a lot more than $27k on lawyers for this case.
  • To me, this looks just like a case of libel. (Or slander. Or whatever.) IANAL.

    Party A said, "Party B is a spammer."
    Party B said, "I am not, and now you've cost me money because of your accusations."

    Party B took Party A to court and won. They got money from Party A to cover the money they lost because Party A libeled them.

    Party A could have gone to court and said, "They ARE spammers. Here's the proof," and they might have won. Party A didn't bother.

    I really don't see the problem here, now that the mone

    • by bmo (77928)

      It's not libel or slander if it's true.

      In the United States, truth is an *absolute defense*

      e360 is a spammer. Period.

      They should be blackholed at the backbone level.

      --
      BMO

  • by Onymous Coward (97719) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:31PM (#32592298) Homepage

    I think it is important to note that Spamhaus is a service that people proactively utilize.

    If we're inventing new terms, let's have them be sensible? "Proactive" and "utilize" (in this sense) are both pretty bad.

    Proactive is just about redundant and doesn't exactly convey the sense that's intended. A person being proactive isn't "in favor of being active", they are "taking initiative". It's nice to have a simple term to express this, but let's invent something other than "proactive".

    When one "utilizes" something they cause that thing to become ("-ize") useful ("util-"). They're not merely using it. They are converting or applying something so that it can be productive or effective where in its former state (unconverted or not thus applied) it was not. Spamhaus lists? Already useful.

    It is important to note that Spamhaus is a service that many people take the initiative to use.

    I know these terms have been around and aren't being invented here at this moment. I'm saying they're neologisms (or maybe in utilize's case a "neosemantism") that are best not promoted. The more you conflate meaning or get vague with meaning in language, the stupider you make us all. If you're going to change language, do it in an intelligent way. Please don't push us towards an idiocracy.

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