A group of Florida-based porn peddlers, penis enlargement and Viagra spammers has united to file suit against anti-spam organisations.
Under the newly-registered name EmarketersAmerica.org, a front set up Mark E. Felstein, lawyer for notorious spammer Eddy Marin, the suit seeks to force prominent anti-spam organisations to stop blocking their spam.
A long list of individuals and anti-spam organisations which prevent bulk mailers from getting their spam out, including the UK-based Spamhaus Project and Spews.org, are listed in the suit.
The civil action law-suit, filed on April 14, seeks an injunction against anti-spam organisation on behalf of the plaintiffs. It also seek damages of $75,000 (plus interest and costs) against the defendants on five separate counts: blacklisting IP addresses of the plaintiffs, libel, invasion of privacy, the publication of allegedly false information and "intentional interference with a contract".
Steve Linford, of The Spamhaus Project, told us the law suit was without merit and purely motivated by an attempt to waste the time and energy of those fighting against the spam menace.
"Spammers will try anything. These lawsuits are intended to tie you up in defending it, wasting time and money," said Linford.
The lawsuit come just days before a Federal Trade Commission conference on spam, due to last for three days from April 30. The main anti-spam and direct marketing organisations along with three "major spammers" are due to attend the conference, whose findings will be reported to Congress and may clear the path to Federal legislation on the issue.
The timing of the lawsuit - days ahead of the conference - is not a coincidence, Linford believes.
Linford, who's based in the UK, told us he has been the subject of several similar lawsuit before. A Louisiana court dismissed a $3 million lawsuit by bulk mailer Ronnie Scelson against Linford last year. Spammers from as far away as Madagascar have also threatened to haul him into local courts.
Because he's based in Britain, Linford believes he can safely ignore the EmarketersAmerica.org suit. But other parties to the suit, based in the US, are within the jurisdiction of the Florida courts.
Linford argues that spammers may have made a tactical mistake. Defendants in the case could countersue EmarketersAmerica.org, and during the discovery phase of the case request documents on the organisation.
Linford has no doubt that the individuals behind the lawsuit include Eddy Marin, who he described as "probably the world's largest spammer", along with a loose alliance of spam purveyors, suing under a front name.
"These are people sending out bulk mail about penis pumps, Viagra and the sleaziest types of spam," Linford told us.
"Florida has become the world's spam capital, thanks to weak state laws. If spammers are caught out in the state all they can expect is a slap on the wrist at worst," he said.
According to Linford, 180 recidivist spammers account for 90 per cent of the world's spam. Deal with them and you've cracked the spam problem, he believes.
"If these 180 were somehow spirited off the Internet - we'd be left with the Nigerians, and companies spamming by mistake. The spam problem would simply disappear," he said. ®
In an ironic twist, the home page of EmarketersAmerica.org has been replaced by a message which states: "THIS PAGE HAS BEEN RE-DIRECTED FOR ABUSE / SPAM VIOLATIONS".