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Court junks $11m judgment against Spamhaus

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An appeal court has quashed an $11m judgment against anti-spam organisation Spamhaus in favour of controversial email marketing outfit e360 Insight.

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit also lifted an injunction, imposed last September, that barred Spamhaus from listing either e360 Insight or its principal David Linhardt as a source of spam.

Although the three-judge panel last week set aside the lower court's default remedies as too broad and built on the flimsiest of evidence, a sworn statement by Linhardt on supposed loss of earnings from Spamhaus's actions alone, the original ruling stands.

That means Spamhaus may find it difficult to argue questions of fact, such as whether it was right to list e360 Insight on its Block List, once the case returns to Judge Kocoras in the lower court. It looks as if the lower court will simply come up with a revised damages estimate. Spamhaus said it was studying the ruling, which marks the latest chapter in the long-running case.

e360 Insight sued Spamhaus after the anti-spam organisation blocklisted its domains over alleged spamming. In a default ruling made by an Illinois court in September 2006, Spamhaus was ordered to pay $11.7m in compensation to e360 Insight, pull the organisation's listing, and post a notice stating that it was wrong to say e360 Insight was involved in sending junk mail. UK-based Spamhaus did not defend the case and the ruling was made in its absence.

Initially, Spamhaus ignored the ruling. e360 Insight responded by upping the ante and calling on the Illinois court to order domain registrars Tucows or ICANN to suspend Spamhaus's domain, Spamhaus.org. e360 Insight's motion was denied. ®

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