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Dutch judge tears up bulk mail ban

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An Amsterdam court has thrown out a lawsuit requiring Dutch outfit AbFab to pay €50 every time it sent unsolicited email to customers of ISP XS4ALL.

XS4ALL had issued a lawsuit arguing that, based on telecommunications law, the right to privacy and network ownership rights, Abfab was committing a civil wrong every time its sent a spam message to the ISP's customers and ought to be fined.

The court rejected these arguments and said the sanctions imposed on XS4ALL are out of proportion with any offence committed. The Judge reckons that in general, spam isn't too bad a nuisance and that it's straightforward to change email ID if it becomes an issue.

Although the court ruling leaves open grounds for action if spammers cause "severe interference", XS4ALL is understandably disappointed with the judge's stance and is considering taking the matter to the Dutch supreme court. It brought the action on behalf of four of its clients in order to prevent interference from Abfab and other similar digital marketing companies.

XS4ALL is taking its action ahead of the enforcement of a European directive for privacy in the telecommunication sector, which its hopes will effectively prohibit spam. The European Council has passed the measure but the deadline for its adoption into the laws of EU member states is still 15 months away. ®

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Statement by XS4ALL on the case

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