Court victory in the fight against spam

A landmark win in a UK court could spell trouble for spammers, and marks a key win in the battle to stem the flow of junk email

A British businessman has won what is believed to be the first court victory of its kind in the fight against spam.

Nigel Roberts, who lives in Alderney in the Channel Islands, won his case against Media Logistics UK which he had accused of sending him repeated unsolicited email, or spam.

The decision, which comes three years after the European Union passed the directive on privacy and telecommunication, is believed to be the first successful prosecution of its kind in a European court.

Roberts said he took action after receiving repeated unwanted e-mail adverts for a contract car firm and a fax broadcasting business. The companies responsible for the emails were using the services of Media Logistics UK.

The company did not defend the claim and a judge ruled in favour of Roberts.

Media Logistics agreed to pay damages of £270 with a £30 payment for the fee for a small claims case. Roberts told the BBC that he had limited his claim to a maximum of £300 so that it would qualify for a hearing in the small claims court which made it quicker and cheaper to bring the case to court.
"This may be a tiny victory but perhaps now spammers will begin to realise that people don't have to put up with their e-mail inboxes being filled with unwanted junk," he said

Media Logistics Ltd provides email, telephone and fax marketing services. It charges 12p an email for 1,000 emails, or 4p an email for 125,000.

In describing its services the company says: "When our clients give us 4oz flour, 2oz butter, some yeast, water and of course a pinch of salt, we add a few secret ingredients to produce the glossy, soft, mouth-watering loaf that exceeds all expectation."

The UK government brought the EU directive into law in 2003. However, the Privacy and Electronic Communication regulations have been repeatedly attacked for lacking the powers to bring spammers to heel.

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