e360 Insight Raises the Stakes, Sues Usenet Posters

Last summer, e360 Insight, an e-mail direct marketer, brought a lawsuit against UK-based block list Spamhaus alleging defamation, tortious interference with contract and prospective economic advantage, and other claims. While Spamhaus continues to state that neither the state or federal court has jurisdiction over it as a foreign organization, e360 Insight has obtained an $11.7 million default judgment in the Northern District of Illinois, which Spamhaus has appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal is currently pending.

Discussion of the case has been intense among direct marketers, as well as the anti-spam community, two of whose main fora are the Usenet newsgroups News.admin.net-abuse.email (aka NANAE) and News.admin.net-abuse.sightings (NANAS), and the CEOs of both e360 Insight and Spamhaus have been active in the NANAE discussion. On March 7, 2007, e360 brought a new lawsuit (the complaint for which is attached to this article) in the Northern District of Illinois, this time against NANAE/NANAS participants Mark Ferguson, Susan Wilson, Kelly Chien, Tim Skirvin, and two other posters going by the nicknames Fudo and Morley Dotes, alleging many of the same claims made against Spamhaus. The case, for which an answer has not yet been filed by the defendants, represents an interesting twist, since it involves defendants who are not either block list owners nor ISPs, but merely participants in an Internet community. We will be watching the case very closely.

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