You may recall that last year there was a lot of news about a direct email firm, e360insight, suing anti-spam organization SpamHaus for listing the email firm as a spammer -- and winning
over $11 million. Part of the reason for the decision was that SpamHaus, after originally preparing to fight the charges, simply ignored the case and said that it didn't apply since SpamHaus is based in the UK and the lawsuit was in Illinois. Because of that, the district court judge gave a default judgment to the e360insight and awarded the company $11 million from SpamHaus (which SpamHaus neither had nor intended to deliver). The court also issued an injunction against SpamHaus, saying it could no longer list e360 as a spammer -- which SpamHaus has ignored. However, now, an Appeals Court has tossed out the injunction and the monetary award
, saying that the district court judge didn't look closely enough in determining the punishment -- and simply accepted the word of the guy behind e360insight in saying how much SpamHaus's listing had cost him.
While this is initially a victory for SpamHaus, it doesn't change the initial default judgment against SpamHaus -- it just sends the ruling back to the lower court to rethink what the punishment should be. So, SpamHaus may still be on the hook for certain damages and may again be told not to list e360insight (though, again, it'll probably ignore any such ruling). Of course, with the recent ruling that found section 230 of the CDA means that anti-spyware vendors are allowed
to call any software they want spyware, as long as they have a good faith belief that it is spyware, you have to wonder if SpamHaus could use the same law to defend its ability to call any particular organization a spammer. It may be too late for that in this case, with SpamHaus already having decided not to take part -- but for future reference, it will be interesting to see if others start using this same argument.