Feeds

ISP slapped with $807,000 fee for 'groundless' spam case

CAN-SPAM cuts both ways

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

An internet service provider that has brought more than 20 lawsuits alleging spam abuses has been ordered to pay one of the defendants almost $807,000 for filing "groundless claims" that mired the company in years of costly litigation.

The $806,978.84 judgment was filed against Asis Internet Services, the same tiny ISP that earlier this month won an award of nearly $2.6m in a separate spam lawsuit. In the most recent case, Magistrate Judge Joseph C Spero of the US District Court of Northern California faulted Asis for pressing on with its case without proof that defendant Azoogle.com was the party that procured the spam at issue.

"Rather, it is apparent that Asis sued Azoogle based on little more than speculation that there might be a connection between those emails and Azoogle," Spero wrote in the decision, which was released late last week. "Asis then continued to litigate even as its discovery efforts turned up no evidence in support of its claims against Azoogle. Having initiated over 20 similar actions, and sued over 20 defendants in this action alone, an award of attorneys' fees here is necessary to deter Asis and other plaintiffs hoping to profit under the Can-Spam Act from casting such a wide net."

CAN-SPAM is short for the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, which was passed in 2003 to help stem the endless tide of spam that was clogging servers and inboxes of ISPs and the customers they served. It was designed to give spam opponents a powerful weapon by allowing them to collect damages of as much as $100 for every unsolicited email, with damages that can be tripled for a variety of reasons.

The decision in the Azoogle case reveals the dark side of such litigation as companies viewed as opportunists file dozens of suits with little merit. "The court also concludes that an award of fees advances the interests of compensation to the extent that defendant Azoogle was forced to defend itself against Asis's groundless claims, resulting in years of litigation and over a million dollars in attorneys' fees," Spero added.

The case is a reminder that parties suing under CAN-SPAM have plenty to lose if they bring cases that are later found to be baseless. Spero rejected Asis's argument that awards under CAN-SPAM should treat prevailing plaintiffs more favorably than prevailing defendants in determining whether fees and costs should be awarded.

A four-employee ISP in Garberville, California, Asis said it receives about 200,000 junk messages per day and spends about $3,000 per month to process them. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.