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Court rules against anti-spam activist

November 29, 2006

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has ruled against an anti-spam activist for posting a report charging that a travel agency that had sent numerous unsolicited emails advertising cruises was a spammer.

After activist Mark Mumma posted thesee reports, he was sued for $3.8 million in damages for defamation by Omega World Travel and its subsidiary.

A three-judge panel sided with the alleged spammers, concluding that although their emails may have contained a false Internet address and a faux "From" address, any violations they may have committed did not rise to the level of transgressions prohibited under the Can-Spam Act.

Judge James Harvie Wilkinson III (frequently mentioned as a future U.S. Supreme Court nominee), wrote in part that the Can-Spam act "addresses 'spam' as a serious and pervasive problem, but it does not impose liability at the mere drop of a hat."

The defamation actions filed by Omega against Mumma are unaffected by this ruling. That case is expected to go to trial next year.

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