Spamhaus Hit With $11.7 Million Judgement

Steve Javors
LONDON — Spamhaus, a nonprofit group formed to fight the plague of spam, was slapped with an $11.7 million judgement issued by an Illinois Court.

Spamhaus, located in the U.K., claims the ruling is invalid.

Spamhaus operates a blacklist, which functions as a database that contains the email addresses of verified spam sources. The list is furnished to companies at no cost to aid email administrators in blocking unsolicited emails. Its list is among the most popular with IT professionals.

The group was sued by e360insight earlier this year over being placed on the blacklist unfairly, claimed CEO David Linhardt.

The U.S. District Court in Chicago ordered Spamhaus to pay $11.7 million in damages in a default judgement. The court also forbids Spamhaus to block or impede the delivery of emails sent by e360insight.

“This ruling confirms e360insight’s position that is a fanatical, vigilante organization that operates in the United States with blatant disregard for U.S. law,” Linhardt told CNET

Spamhaus immediately questioned the validity of the default judgement, and the court’s ability to enforce a penalty against an organization located outside the U.S.

“Default judgments obtained in U.S. county, state or federal courts have no validity in the U.K. and cannot be enforced under the British legal system,” Spamhaus said on its website. “As spamming is illegal in the U.K., an Illinois court ordering a British organization to stop blocking incoming Illinois spam in Britain goes contrary to U.K. law which orders all spammers to cease sending spam in the first place.”

In defiance of the court’s order, Spamhaus is keeping Lindhardt’s company on the blacklist and will not post a court-ordered apology on its website. According to Spamhaus, if e360insight wants an enforceable ruling, it would need to refile the case in the U.K.

“The Spamhaus guys are good guys, and they are doing the right thing,” Barracuda CEO Dean Drako told CNET “It is a pity that the court system in the U.S. can be abused in such a fashion as it is.”