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Libel Suit Dropped, Says Spamhaus

6/16/15
 
By Ken Magill
 
A libel lawsuit filed against Spamhaus last year has been quietly dropped, according to the anti-spam outfit.
 
“Litigation brought in the United Kingdom against The Spamhaus Project Ltd by US-based Claimants Craig Ames and Robert McGee - who were previously listed on Spamhaus ROKSO under their business names "Mamba Hosting, Blackstar" - was successfully resolved by Spamhaus' legal representatives Olswang LLP resulting in the Claimants dropping their case and paying Spamhaus' legal costs,” Spamhaus said in an announcement on Spamhaus.org.
 
Spamhaus chief executive, Steve Linford, declined comment beyond the organization’s official statement.
 
The attorney who reportedly represented Ames and McGee did not respond to an email sent yesterday asking him to confirm the suit has been dropped and if so, why.
 
In a complaint filed last July, entrepreneurs Ames and McGee claimed, among other things, they were wrongly placed on Spamhaus’s Register of Known Spam Offenders, or ROKSO list, and placed at the top of its Top 10 World’s Worst Spammers list.
 
Ames and McGee argued they have substantial business reputations in England and Wales that Spamhaus seriously damaged with its postings on them.
 
They also claimed Spamhaus misused private information by publishing their addresses, according to the ruling. McGee also reportedly claims Spamhaus committed copyright infringement by posting his photo.
 
Spamhaus maintains lists of what its volunteers deem to be sources of spam. Many email inbox providers reference Spamhaus as at least part of their algorithm to determine whether or not incoming email is spam.
 
A listing on Spamhaus can result in serious email deliverability troubles.
 
After a hearing on Dec. 12 in which Spamhaus moved to have Ames’ and McGee’s libel suit tossed, Justice Mark Warby issued a ruling on Jan. 27 allowing it to move forward.
 
Neither side has disclosed how the suit was resolved.
 
This was not the first time Spamhaus has been sued.
 
In 2006, Dave Linhardt, principal of marketing firm e360 Insight, sued Spamhaus in Illinois alleging tortuous interference and defamation. Linhardt got an $11.7 million default judgment when Spamhaus representatives failed to show up in court. 
 
Five years later after much back and forth, the award was dropped to $3.
 
In 2003, a group calling itself EMarketersAmerica sued Spamhaus in Florida but withdrew the suit before it could go to discovery.
 
Though the e360 Insight case was technically a win for e360, marketers have yet to truly prevail in lawsuits over the practice of spam blocklisting.
 
In 2010 Pennsylvania-based email marketer HolomaXx Technologies sued Microsoft, Yahoo, Return Path and Cisco Ironport Systems, claiming that mass email campaigns it sent on behalf of clients were wrongly blocked from reaching recipients.
 
The suit failed.
 
 
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