Warning: Don't Spam This Scot
Most people just grumble and hit delete, but when Gordon Dick received a spam message advertising Internet services, he fought back.
(London) Most people just grumble and hit delete, but when Gordon Dick
received a spam message advertising Internet services, he fought back.
The 30-year-old Web marketing specialist from Edinburgh sued the sender,
Transcom Internet Services Ltd., in small-claims court. The court ordered
the company to pay $1,445 in damages and $1,190 in court costs.
"If someone was throwing stones through your window, would you just
ignore it?" Dick said. "It's anti-social behavior and they shouldn't
be doing it in the first place."
Dick argued that Transcom had taken his e-mail address from an Internet
forum without his consent, violating the European Union Data Protection
Transcom director William Smith denied that the message was spam. He
said Dick received the mailing last year after his address was accidentally
taken from a group e-mail and added to a company database. Smith said
the e-mail went to 41,000 people.
Transcom's lawyers argued damages were unwarranted because the e-mail
did not hurt Dick financially. But the court rejected the argument.
Nick Lockett, a London attorney who specializes in Internet law, said
the ruling could prompt other cases in which spam recipients seek damages
to cover the costs of e-mail filtering software and server space.
Indeed, Dick has set
up a Web site offering advice on how to fight spammers in court. So
Roberts, a Briton who won a 300-pound ($580) settlement in 2005 over
spam from a car company and a fax broadcasting business.
"The majority of people," Roberts said, "don't know how
to look at the spam e-mail and identify who sent it."