Harris Drops Lawsuit Against AOL in “Spam Case”

Harris Interactive dropped America Online’s name from a federal lawsuit Tuesday.

The Harris suit had charged AOL — along with several other ISPs and the anti-spam organization Mail Abuse Prevention Systems — with wrongfully blocking it from emailing its registered online users.

An initial press release on Tuesday stated that Harris removed AOL from the lawsuit after the ISP agreed to allow the online market researcher to resume email communications with AOL subscribers.

But Harris clarified its statement later Tuesday.

Contrary to its earlier release, Harris said, its decision to drop AOL from the lawsuit “is not contingent upon any agreement between AOL and Harris Interactive regarding the delivery of Harris Interactive’s email to its 1.3 million AOL members.” However, Harris Interactive said, it now believes that it is able to fully communicate with all of its registered respondents who have AOL email addresses.

The wording of the clarification leaves a mystery whether America Online supports or opposes the MAPS list. The ISP couldn’t be reached for comment.

The announcement comes less than a week after Harris filed suit alleging that it was unfairly placed onto the Mail Abuse Prevention System‘s “Realtime Blackhole List.”

MAPS, an anti-spam organization, named as a defendant in the suit, enables its clients to block email from Internet sites that do not follow its anti-spam policies. The Harris suit, which named AOL, Microsoft, Qwest and other ISPs, sought injunctive relief and monetary damages to stop the ISPs from using the RBL list to block its email.

Harris said litigation against remaining defendants in the case will continue.

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