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05 May 2007

Oklahoma Spammer Fighter Loses Even Worse Email

Last December I wrote about Mark Mumma, who runs a small web hosting company in Oklahoma City and his battle with Omega World Travel a/k/a cruise.com. Mumma lost his CAN SPAM suit agains them in December, but Omega's countersuit for defamation went to trial last week, and I hear that the jury awarded Omega $2.5 million in damages, which Mumma is not likely to be able to pay.

This may be painted in some circles as a huge defeat for anti-spam activists, but it's not. Mumma has been what one might call an intemperate litigant, as most impressively documented in an interview with Ken Magill. Press reports say that Omega would have settled with Mumma for an apology and no money, which considering Mumma's string of losses was a pretty good offer. But he didn't.

There are plenty of real anti-spam lawsuits going on, with real charges of behavior that is actually prohibited by law. A good example is the case that Project Honeypot filed last week against spammers who'd scraped addresses off their honeypot web pages. I look forward to following its progress.

Update: Read Robert Braver's comment on this message which clarifies the sequence of suits. Omega sued first in response to threats from Mumma, but the outcome is indeed a train wreck.


posted at: 16:27 :: permanent link to this entry :: 1 comments
posted at: 16:27 :: permanent link to this entry :: 1 comments

comments...        (Jump to the end to add your own comment)


Just to clarify, Omega World Travel (cruise.com) didn't countersue - they filed their defamation suit in Virginia, then Mumma countersued with his CAN-SPAM and Oklahoma Fraudulent Email statute claims, which cruise.com easily dispensed with by summary judgment.

Well before cruise.com's suit, many folks in NANAE publicly expressed their disapproval of Mumma's cruise.com page on his web site. I did privately and I was scoffed at.

I also saw the cruise.com emails and did a cursory check for a pattern of spam complaints. I determined that that emails did not in any way violate the Oklahoma statutes or CAN-SPAM, and told him so. I told him that pursuing such claims could also have negative consequences for others who are pursuing legitimate claims (such as me), and he derided me.

This is not an "I told you so" and I take no pleasure whatsoever in being proven right - I just think it's important to make it crystal clear that this was not a case of the big bad spammers, backwards courts, and a bad CAN-SPAM law all teaming up to defeat the virtuous victim trying to protect his rights.

(by Robert Braver 01 May 2007 08:09)


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