SpamCop gets gagging order lifted

Twist in SpamCop versus Spam King lawsuit

A temporary restraining order against SpamCop which stops it from forwarding complaints to ISPs against bulk mailer OptInRealBig was lifted on Tuesday.

Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong of the US District Court for the Northern District of California lifted an order she had imposed only the day before on the anti-spam service. She also brought forward a hearing on OptInRealBig's lawsuit against SpamCop to 18 May.

The gagging order was issued only because papers from SpamCop opposing OptInRealBig's application were received in the late afternoon of 10 May, after the judge had issued her order. The restraining order and SpamCop's opposition had "crossed each other in the e-filing system," according to the court. The temporary restraining order never had any bearing on the merits of the case either way, it added.

OptInRealBig brought a legal action against SpamCop and parent company IronPort last month, alleging that SpamCop interfered with OptInRealBig's contracts and business relationships, affected its ability to make money and bad-mouthed the company. Ironport acquired SpamCop last November. SpamCop contacts the abuse desks of ISPs in response to reports of spam from Web users. The email address of complainants is withheld.

Scott Richter, OptInRealBig's president, is on the receiving end of a December lawsuit from New York's Attorney General and Microsoft for allegedly sending "billions of illegal and deceptive e-mail messages". Spamhaus names Richter and OptInRealBig as the world's ninth most prolific spam operation in its Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO). Richter, the self-styled "Spam King", also appears in second spot in the list, thanks to the work of Wholesalebandwidth.

Steve Linford of Spamhaus told El Reg that these two operations mean that Richter is arguably the world's worst spammer. Since 1 January, Richter has tried to re-invent himself as an 'ethical bulk mailer' by sending email which is CAN-SPAM compliant. Linford added that these messages still fall foul of European anti-spam laws and the terms and conditions of every ethical ISP. Spamhaus expects bulk mail outfits to file more lawsuits against anti-spam organisations. ®

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