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Delhi HC raps firm over spam mail

January 13, 2004 17:50 IST

In perhaps the first judicial order in India to curb unsolicited e-mails, the Delhi high court has restrained a city-based organisation and its proprietor from indulging in this activity to jam the VSNL Internet server.

"The McCoy Infosystems Pvt Ltd and its proprietors and agent are restrained from causing transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail to any user of the services of the VSNL," Justice R C Chopra said in an interim order.

The court's order came on a suit filed by Tata Sons Ltd and its subsidiary Panatone Finwest Ltd, which have acquired major stake in the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd following its divestment.

The Tatas alleged that through the Unsolicited Bulk Commercial E-mail, popularly called spam, the Delhi company was intentionally 'trespassing' on VSNL's property despite being blacklisted for habitual transmission of UBCE.

Tatas' advocate Pravin Anand said: "This is the first court order in the country on spamming."

He said since there was no statutory protection to check spam mails on Internet, the traditional tort law principles of trespass to goods as well as law of nuisance has been brought into practice to address the challenges posed by UBCE."

"Despite their e-mail IDs blocked and blacklisted by VSNL for their activity, the Delhi-based company has been persistently transmitting unauthorised and unsolicited UBCE into the resources of VSNL and other third party," the Tatas alleged.

The Tatas had submitted that the perusal of the Web site www.mccoyin.com revealed that the company was involved in 'e-marketing' unauthorisedly and their continued action has severely degraded VSNL'S capacity to function effectively.

"The malafide action of defendants has resulted in VSNL having to face, among other things, slower server speed which results in degraded response time from VSNL's mail exchanger service," the counsel submitted.

Maintaining that the transmission of UBCE by the local company into the VSNL systems has directly resulted in denying VSNL access to use of its own property, the Tatas alleged that the defendants were causing an electronic nuisance to VSNL and breaching the terms and conditions of the services provided by it.

By transmitting unsolicited bulk e-mails, McCoy Infosystems was breaching the privacy of VSNL and their subscribers, Anand told the court.

The Tatas have sought similar relief against some other individuals and companies and the court is yet to receive their reply.

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