Company Sues Spam Accuser

Matt O'Conner
MACHESTER, N.H. — A company accused of violating spam rules is asserting its innocence by suing the individual who made the allegation.

Jay Stuler reported to several ISPs that New Hampshire-based Atriks, otherwise known as Distributed Mail, sent him large amounts of unsolicited bulk email over a period from April 2003 onward.

According to court papers, Stuler’s accusation cost Atriks its accounts with ISPs Lightship Telecom, Spectra Access and North Atlantic Internet, essentially preventing the company from conducting business.

But Atriks asserts its email methods are completely legal and not in breach of the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act. And the company wants Stuler to pay for financial damage caused by lost ISP contracts.

A call to Atriks' CEO from XBiz was not returned, but in its legal submission, the company claims: “Atriks does not originate or send commercial email to third parties, and does not otherwise conduct activities regulated by the CAN-SPAM Act.”

According to Atriks’ website, the company manages “the business and consumer data needs of many Fortune 1000 companies across the U.S., as well as the comprehensive data requirements of the U.S. homeland security effort."

However, independent antispam group Spamhaus said it has received numerous complaints about Atriks in the past.

A quick search of the Spamhaus database by XBiz turned up 28 records related to Atriks, including entries in which Spamhaus claims Atriks installed software on people's PCs without permission and sent email with misleading subject lines.

Spamhaus also says Atriks’ “VirtualMDA system appears to violate the recent CAN-SPAM law by falsifying the transmission path.”

While Stuler’s attorney has advised him not to speak with the media, he has written on his personal website that he believes “this is a frivolous lawsuit designed to harass and intimidate. If I can be sued simply for complaining about spammers, then anyone can be.”