Marketer wins damages for mailing list spam

A Scottish court has ordered an internet service provider to pay £750 plus expenses and interest to a man it “spammed” by sending a single e-mail obtained via a discussion list.

Gordon Dick took Transcom Internet Services to court in Edinburgh after receiving a marketing message apparently via an email group operated by UK domain registry Nominet. Both parties belonged to the group.

Dick alleged Transcom used the Nominet group to harvest addresses, but Transcom director William Smith told Out-Law News his mailbox, used to send monthly promotions, had been subscribed to the list by Nominet without his permission.

Transcom’s message, which advertised its own anti-spam services and included an unsubscribe feature, was sent to around 72,000 people. Smith said the group was configured to send mail directly to recipients and not via its list address, implicating his company.

Dick took action under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, which allow private individuals to sue if they have received damages as a result of a failure to comply with anti-spam regulations.

Dick, who is an electronic marketer and non-executive Nominet director, is only the second such individual in the UK to win in such a course of action. He has launched his own website with anti-spam advice.