MAPS, Media3 Settle Mail-Blocking Case

Anti-spam group Mail Abuse Prevention System has again settled with a longtime foe, e-business hosting and services firm Media3 Technologies.

Through the settlement with Pebroke, Mass.-based Media3, MAPS agreed to remove the firm’s mail servers from its own Realtime Blackhole List. The RBL is a database of reported spammers’ mail servers, used by many ISPs to filter out unwanted and burdensome email.

While Anne Mitchell, MAPS’ director of legal and public affairs, said that details of the settlement are confidential, she did add that “MAPS and Media3 have achieved a reasonable accord, and we’re pleased with the outcome.”

The disagreement stemmed from Redwood City, Calif.-based MAPS decision to add Media3 to the RBL in June of last year, alleging reports of spamming.

In December, Media3 sued the non-profit, and requested a federal court order to remove its servers from the RBL. However, the court turned down Media3’s request in January, citing a failure to show that the firm would suffer irreparable injury if its addresses continued to be listed in the RBL, among other things.

Spokespeople from Media3 did not return requests for comment by press time.

The settlement comes just days after the conclusion of another high-profile spat, between MAPS and New York-based online pollster Harris Interactive. The group had alleged that Harris had been delivering unwanted email, and last year put the firm on its RBL — initially resulting in a lawsuit against MAPS, AOL and Microsoft’s Hotmail, which used the RBL to filter spam.

AOL and Hotmail eventually agreed to let Harris’s email through to their systems, though MAPS kept Harris on the RBL until last week, when it agreed to remove the polling firm, in return for a promise that the company would use confirmed opt-in procedures in the future.

Despite the two settlements, MAPS faces a suit from one more opponent, software firm Black Ice, which sued the firm in October 2000. That litigation is still ongoing, with a demurrer hearing taking place in May.

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