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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 December 2005, 15:00 GMT
Businessman wins e-mail spam case
Computer keyboard and mouse
The spams were in Mr Roberts' personal e-mail account
A businessman has won what is believed to be the first victory of its kind by claiming damages from a company which sent him e-mail spam.

Nigel Roberts, who lives in Alderney in the Channel Islands, took action against Media Logistics UK over junk e-mails in his personal account.

Under new European laws, companies can be sued for sending unwanted e-mails.

The Stirlingshire-based firm has agreed to pay 270 compensation to Mr Roberts, who runs an internet business.

'Tiny victory'

Three years ago the EU passed an anti-spam law, the directive on privacy and telecommunications, which gave individuals the right to fight the growing tide of unwanted e-mail by allowing them to claim damages.

Mr Roberts received unwanted e-mail adverts for a contract car firm and a fax broadcasting business and decided to take action against the company.

The company filed an acknowledgement of the claim at Colchester County Court but did not defend it and a judge ruled in favour of Mr Roberts.

In an out-of-court agreement Media Logistics agreed to pay Mr Roberts damages of 270 plus his 30 filing fee.

Mr Roberts said he had limited his claim to a maximum of 300 in order to qualify to file it as a small claim.

He said: "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."

No-one from Media Logistics UK was available for comment.

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner's Office, the watchdog who oversees the Data Protection Act, said it was the first case of its kind he had heard of.

He said: "What I can say is that I haven't heard of anyone doing so and we haven't taken a case under that legislation."


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