Spam filtering service Spam Arrest has lost their lawsuit against a marketing company it claims agreed to their terms of service and then broke them. The company offers a white-listing service as a spam filter. It intercepts unfamiliar emails and demands the sender complete a CAPTCHA if they want their message to be received. The sender is also required to agree to Spam Arrest’s terms of service which prohibit unsolicited commercial email (Anyone who has ever sent an email to an Earthlink member is probably familiar with the process). Once the sender complies, their email address is whitelisted and they can email the recipient freely in the future. This type of service is looked on rather dimly by security experts because those who use them seldom bother to whitelist people they correspond with regularly, forcing them to jump through the Spam Arrest hoops, and furthermore when they contact a company’s customer service or tech support email, they don’t bother to whitelist that email address either. The bottom line is people shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to email you.
Getting back to the lawsuit, Spam Arrest sued marketing firm Sentient Jet, saying the company agreed to the terms of service and then proceed to spam their users with over 600 advertising emails. They demanded $2,000 per spam message claiming breach of contract. A U.S. District Court Judge disagreed and threw the suit out, saying Spam Arrest could not prove that Sentient Jet had entered into a legally binding contract. It had no paper trail or signatures.
Neither company has commented on the decision. What do you think? Was Spam Arrest in the right or way out of line?