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Court Overrules Spam Litigation Worth $10 Million

An owner of Internet domain who had accumulated large numbers of spam mails with the objective to file lawsuits against spammers was blocked by a San Francisco (USA) situated federal court to appeal.

The man named James Gordon (resident of Richland, Washington), with the domain named gordonworks.com, had filed a lawsuit against Virtumundo, the e-mail marketer, under the CAN-SPAM Act, demanding restitution of the damages that occurred due to the apparent breach of the act.

While appealing in court, Gordon pleaded to dismiss a subordinate court's decision of rejecting a lawsuit the domain owner filed against Virtumundo and demanded $10 Million because he had apparently received a massive number of marketing e-mails.

However, during the prosecution, a group of three judges from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Gordon's lawsuit against Virtumundo Inc.

The judges' panel stated that Gordon's "litigation mill" was deliberately created, explaining that Gordon established fake e-mail accounts that were hosted on gordonworks.com in the names of his family members and himself although they later stopped using them.

Nevertheless, Gordon kept on monitoring the discarded e-mail accounts as well as set the server supporting the e-mails in such a manner that automated responses emanated to all the marketing e-mails based on which Gordon alleged that the e-mail sender had acquiesced to either stop sending the messages or pay Gordon $500 whenever he would send a spam mail.

Hence, the court stated that the harm to Gordon from the unsolicited e-mails hadn't been of the kind that could have let him to file the suits under the CAN-SPAM Act.

Thus, the Appeals Court sustained the subordinate court's decision by saying that Gordon's claim was baseless under the act, which gave attorney generals of states, the Federal Trade Commission, and Internet Service Providers, the right to act.

Notably, the CAN-SPAM Act mandates marketing e-mailers to provide opt-out facilities to recipients, not wanting to get spam mails as well as prohibits misleading subject lines. Furthermore, it permits state and federal agencies to file lawsuits in case of breaches and empowers ISPs to sue for damages on account of spam.

Related article: Court Acquits Student From Generating Fake Boarding Passes

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