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back to article $11.7m judgment against Spamhaus slashed to $27,000

A federal judge has handed a major victory to anti-spam crusaders Spamhaus, slashing an $11.7m verdict to just $27,002. US Judge Charles P. Kocoras of the Eastern District of Illinois said the plaintiffs, e360 Insight and its founder David Linhardt, failed to credibly calculate the damage that resulted when its promotional …

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Pirate

what a fucked up country

we are when the spammers can win court cases and settlements against the folks who are trying to protect us from spam. I guess nobody ever thought about the fact that a spamhaus user volutarily signed up for the spamhaus service in an effort to avoid their worthless trashy emails.

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Not so much

The spammers only 'won' by default, because Spamhaus declined to appear in court. They probably didn't want to spend that much time and effort on it; since they're based outside the US, the ruling is just about impossible to enforce, however large the amount.

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Stop

Unsolicited = spam

Do not want

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Flame

Do not want?

Here's a tip I've recently found then, don't rent a car from Hertz.

They'll ask for your email address to send the e-Invoice to, which they will duly do. Then said email address will go to every scummy, spam-sending*, tinpot car rental firm on the planet. Hertz deny everything of course, but if I rent a car and then get deluged with car rental spam immediately afterwards I fail to see how that can be a coincidence. Particularly as the only time my email address was used in the process was when I wrote it down when I collected the bloody thing off them. That rules out the booking chain and the agents we use.

That's the last time Hertz will see any money from my business trips. Next time I get a Hertz booking returned I'll insist it's changed.

*Joomla appears to be the spam merchant behind this, Fasthosts is looking after the servers. That's if the "unsubscribe" link (hah! yeah, like that makes any fucking difference) on each piece of crap is anything to go by. Both also on my blacklist now. Today's spam run is "Indigo car hire". I won't ever be using them either.

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Go

Domain name ?

That's one of the reason I have my own domain name - it helps track the source :)

Spam suddenly arriving for "hertz@mydomain.me" shows me that is was the Hertz that spread the address.

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@Do not want...

Also be careful about using unravelit.com because if you make enquiries about eg insurance through their service they pass on your e-mail address and suddenly I started getting lots of spam to unravelit.com@mydomainname and, when I complained, simply said "well, sorry, it wasn't us"

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Send them their own garbage back

If that happens, don't delete the 'hertz@mydomain.me' address - set it to forward everything it receives to abuse@hertz

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Paris Hilton

the clue is in the word billion

Anyone sending billions of emails is not sending solicited material, they had the audacity to use the billion word in relation to the number of emails allegedly caught by Spamhaus to estimate their compensation, and yet no one seems to have said "Wait a moment that number of emails can't be solicited!".

Paris cos she only eats real meat not spam. Allegedly.

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Flame

No Victory!

How can this be considered a victory for Spamhaus? They are still being penalised for protecting world+dog from these bottom feeders.

Victory would have been e360 to pay all costs.

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Victory ? I think not.

I hate to be a wet blanket, but I'm looking at this as e360 v Spamhaus: e360 wins :(

The court is basically saying "Spamhaus caused the spammers to lose $27K - Spamhaus has to pay it back" - That is patently false: Spamhaus, using all the methods that it uses, publishes lists of IPs that are known to them to emit unsolicited mail - Millions of people around the world, including myself and everyone on my servers, choose to follow that advice and block mail originating from those IPs. That is *my* decision not to see any of e360s - and other ***spammers*** mail, and therefore not give them any business - not Spamhaus'.

It is *me* that has the relationship between my mail servers and the outside world - Not Spamhaus (and my servers) - I may choose Spamhaus for influential data, but how that data is used (in this case, to block mail) - Is *my* choice, not Spamhaus' - So the fact that the court ordered them to pay even a twenty seventh of a cent, much less $27K, is utterly ridiculous.

This is a bad, bad, bad decision that will have very negative long term effects unless appealed.

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Grenade

If it sends spam it's a spammer

They sent, on their own admission, 6.6 billion 'promotional emails'. How much are they going to pay in damages to the people who had to handle that vast steaming pile?

Still since they're now so publicly known, hopefully their domains and IP addresses will get locally blacklisted everywhere. Even in the US they should have problems suing individual companies for refusing to accept their garbage stream.

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WTF?

Victory?

If getting stuffed for 27 thousand dollars to a bunch of spammers is a victory then its a damn funny world...

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WTF?

In other news

Pepper spray manufacturers are found guilty of interfering with muggers carrying out their business.

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Fail

The article doesn't indicate why Spamhaus did not appear in court - there is a question over jurisdiction.

Lindhardt maintained to the court that Spamhous were based in the US - they are not. The court did not check to see if they had jurisdiction. Spamhaus withdrew from appearing in the case on the advice of lawyers, on the basis that the court does not have the right to try the case. Any judgement is therefore invalid.

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

However, whatever the court decides, e360Insight are spammers (they have been succesfully sued several times) and should be treated as such.

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Silver badge

and now how about the death penalty

for e360

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Silver badge

Another meaningless judgement?

When this started, Spamhaus did not bother to respond to the summons because there was not one thing a US judge could do to them. Doing nothing would just make e360 spend money wasting the court's time. A more sensible response might have been a letter telling the judge exactly that because, done correctly, it could have ended the proceedings then and there.

e360 sent out loads of spam. Lots of people reported this to Spamhaus. As a result, e360 was added to Spamhaus's list. Many people chose to use Spamhaus's list even though they new it would occasionally block genuine email as well as lots of spam from e360 and their competitors.

IIRC, Spamhaus explained this to the court.

Has anything changed since this started? Is there any way to collect this $27,002? Is that the cost of not being the next Dmitry Sklyarov? (Sklyarov spent a month in prison, and was held in the US without a work permit for 4 months. Later the court found against Adobe: Sklyarov's employer Elcomsoft had not broken US law.)

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Bronze badge

Jurisdiction

I don't think the judge has jurisdiction, a mistake a lot of US courts find hard to understand!

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Thumb Up

How can a spammer *ever* win?

A court case *anywhere*.

You're antisocial scum. Did not want, do not want.

They should go back to taking brown baggies of cash in the backs of bars, not pretending they are a "legitimate" business.

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Megaphone

Would you join a vigilante army against spammers?

What I want is for one of the major email providers to offer a REALLY effective anti-spam option. (Are you listening, Google?) Basically something like SpamCop, but with more rounds of analysis and human confirmations to really target the spammers hard. SpamCop just looks for the ISP and the website, but there are SO many other angles that could be targeted with a bit of human effort, and I would be glad to donate a bit of my time to the fight. For example, the owners of brands that are being damaged by the spammers might want to be notified. (Are you listening, Facebook and Pfizer?) Domain registrars should be sorted into the legitimate ones that want to be told about spammers using their system verses the spam-supporting registrars that need to be shut down. Redirection services and link shorteners should receive more intelligent and faster reports of abuse. Special attention should be paid to high priority abuse like phishing websites. (Are you listening, banks?)

Remember two things. (1) There are only a small number of suckers who feed the spamming animals whereas there are a LARGE number of people who dislike spammers. (2) The spammers cannot obfuscate beyond human intelligence because they need to reach some humans to get the money (even if those humans are really stupid).

I want to become a spam-fighter first class in an army of good Samaritans against spammers! How about you?

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You should remember a 3rd thing

Google make their money from advertising any which way they can get a penny from it. They are not going to be interested in being any part of a scheme that clamps down on any form of internet advertising.

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Anonymous Coward

Meh.

Reduce that $27,000 to $1 and we're there.

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Unhappy

Vigilante groups...

Which is what spamhaus are in essence, seldom do any good. What they do is laudable and I'm glad they stop most of the crap that’s headed for my inbox, but, cavalier attitudes wont help. It was only a matter of time before some company proved that legitimate emails were being targeted. Shame but at least the Judge showed some common sense and made a fair judgement. But why do some spammers get jailed, fined millions etc but when a pissed up joy rider kills an innocent bystander, why do they only get a derisory sentence (at least in the UK courts). What’s the bigger issue, junk mail or death through dangerous driving. We truly live in a fucked up place. No wonder ET wont visit...

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Stop

Spamming reduces life

>>> 3600*24*365.25*80

2524608000.0

If it takes 1 second for every recipient of 2.524 billion spams to delete it, the above calculation shows the total cost as equivalent to the lifespan of someone who lives for 80 years. The cost is much worse than this, because it often takes more than a second, and if you delete your spams based on sender and subject header you are likely to delete wanted messages by accident.

Murdering a couple of 40 year olds expected to live to 80 represents the same reduction in life. The fact that a small amount of time is taken from a very great number of people doesn't somehow make it OK. Locking up large scale spammers for very long periods is therefore entirely justified QED.

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FAIL

What a BIG failure

Ever fining spamhouse 1$ is a total failure. E360 is a well known spammer, and this trial is a farce.

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Thumb Up

not quite so clear cut

not all of the emails were unsolicited. Many were on mail lists that were genuine, hence the damages based on those. the fact that the same company also sent unsolicited emails meant that spamhaus had no way of differentiating - 360 was simply blacklisted. Spamhaus changed their TOC afterwards to avoid this again, insofar as their blocklists have companies that have sent unsolicited emails.

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WTF?

6.6 billion emails

How many people on this planet again? 6.5bn people in the world in 2006?

Wow thats some mailing list...

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I hope e360 appeals it all the way to the top

Since it's just their own money they're spending, and it's not (and never will) cost Spamhaus a penny.

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Grenade

A stupid judgment

This is a stupid judgment and is completely meaningless outside the U.S.

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Anonymous Coward

Try telling them that.

Will they listen?

Will they 'eck as like.

Some idiot company would most likely try and sue the Telephone Preference Service given half a chance.

Even worse some asshat Judge would probably let them.

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Unhappy

Spammers are scum...

...but who's policing the police here?

I despise spam every bit as much as the next guy. As far as I'm concerned, spammers ought to be dealt with in any way possible, preferably legal but if not that'll do as well.

Problem is, I don't think Spamhaus is run by a wonderful group of people either. Their web pages exude an attitude of "we don't care, we don't have to care and you can't make us care" if you're having a problem caused by their services. They openly state that use of their services is at the discretion of the person using them...and that they are not responsible for any of those uses. They'll also tell you that if you plan to take them to court over something, you will be paying for both parties costs.

(I can fully appreciate how much frivolous crap they probably have to deal with from spammers who don't see eye-to-eye with their filtering efforts, and how they might just be tired of fending off such frivolity. Which might explain but most certainly does not excuse their overall tone.)

Is that a tacit admission that they think someone could take them to court and possibly win? Maybe I'm reading a lot into it (and maybe what I'm seeing isn't there at all) but I very much think so.

I've seen firsthand people who have never sent a spam message a day in their lives have e-mails returned by Spamhaus blocklists. (The machines in question are clean--no malicious software is doing anything.) Some server operators do at least bounce a message back saying that your message was refused by suggestion from a Spamhaus filter, but they don't go out of their way to tell you /why/ that is true and what exactly you should do about it. The advice that's offered by Spamhaus is irritatingly generic, yet their filter must have seen something it did not like.

Come on. It's not like it would be *hard* for the mail server whose ruleset rejected the message to say exactly what the offending rule was and pass a URL leading to somewhere helpful within the Spamhaus site.

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Anonymous Coward

Does it matter?

The US court has no jurisdiction here.

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