Habeas Beats Spammer With Poetry

Gretchen Gallen
CYBERSPACE – Anti-spam firm Habeas Inc. won a judgment over spammer William "Billy" Carson this week, marking the company's second legal pursuit of spammers.

Habeas was awarded damages of $104,103 from the United States District Court of Northern California, and Carson was prohibited by the court from applying the term Habeas, any registered trademarks of Habeas, or any similar terms to email.

Habeas launched in 2002 as an email trust services company that uses a 17-word line from a Japanese haiku poem as a watermark in outbound emails to prove that they are both legitimate emails and ensure that they won't get blocked by Internet Service Providers sifting for spam. In addition to that, Habeas headers are copyright and trademark-protected, since the poetry is original work and cannot be hijacked or used by a third party.

According to reports, Carson was accused of illegally applying the Habeas Warrant Mark to emails in an attempt to circumvent anti-spam filters. He first signed on as a Habeas client and then later used the Habeas name to launch his own promotional campaign via email.

"The court agrees that the Defendant's deliberate copying of the Plaintiff's mark was egregious and specifically designed to circumvent the spam filters that the Plaintiff's client relied on," the judge stated.

Habeas was first alerted to the problem when the Internet community started complaining about Habeas spam. After tracing the spam emails to Carson, Habeas then filed a copyright infringement lawsuit and claimed its second victory against a spammer in two years.

Habeas is currently in pursuit of another spammer using the Habeas trademark to deliver unsolicited porn and prescription drug emails.