On April 13th, 2006, Wayne Mansfield was found by an Australian Federal Court to be in breach of the Spam Act. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but on October 27th, 2006, the judge handed down his decision in relation to penalties: AU$4.5 million against Clarity1 Pty Ltd (Mansfield’s business) and AU$1 million against Mr Mansfield himself. (At present exchange rates, AU$1 is roughly 75 US cents.)
The decision against Mr Mansfield also imposes a restraining injunction to the effect that neither he nor his company may send commercial email to anyone that has not granted specific prior consent for him to do so; nor may he or his company harvest email addresses or use harvested address lists. Basically the injunction requires him to obey the law (specifically the Spam Act), which seems a little superfluous, but I gather this is done so that future violations become violations of specific court orders, not just breaking the law, and action can be taken much more quickly against violation of an injunction. It’s therefore important to report any Mansfield-related spam to the ACMA if it’s still being sent.
I was one of the parties who lodged complaints in relation to Mr Mansfield’s spamming, and was called as a witness at the trial. The process was very slow and tedious, but educational. My hat is off to the ACMA guys for their success in this matter. I hope that the outcome acts as a deterrent to any other Australians who might be under the false impression that spamming is cheap and effective marketing.
- Commonwealth of Australia Law: Spam Act 2003
- Federal Court of Australia Case File for Australian Communications Authority v Clarity1 Pty Ltd
- Reasons for Judgment in the case, (April 13th, 2006)
- Australian Communications and Media Authority press release on the decision
For convenience, I have produced a PDF rendition of the final order. The court-supplied document (see case file above) is a “.doc” file.