Spam Act

Logan J has granted an interlocutory injunction under the Spam Act 2003, pending trial for civil penalties.

Apart from the fact that cases under the Act are not exactly thick on the ground, the debate in the case really turned on:

  1. whether ACMA would be required to provide an undertaking as to damages – in the end, it wasn’t;
  2. whether the injunction should take the narrower form of undertakings proferred by the respondents or the wide form, corresponding to the final relief, sought by ACMA.

Logan J considered the narrower form would suffice, but refused to limit it by reference to “reasonable endeavours”:

Subject to one qualification, I consider that the undertakings proffered by the remaining Respondents sufficiently meet the case for interlocutory injunctive relief that ACMA has established. That qualification relates to Winning’s undertaking only that it will “use reasonable endeavours” to remove or otherwise deactivate, or cause to be removed or deactivated, any fictitious profiles on dating websites or social networking websites it has registered or otherwise placed on those websites, whether by itself, its servants or agents. Winning seems, prima facie, to have control in respect of such websites. ACMA, in my opinion, has established a case for an interlocutory order that Winning remove or deactivate the websites concerned. If it transpires, for some unforeseen reason, that Winning cannot, notwithstanding what it shows to be endeavours which the Court regards as reasonable effect removal or deactivation, it and its officers would not be found guilty of a contempt. That though is to anticipate. Further, what, prospectively, amounts to “reasonable endeavours” may be a subject upon which reasonable people might reasonably differ. It is undesirable, in my opinion, that that degree of imprecision attend either an interlocutory injunction or an undertaking which upon acceptance will have the same practical effect.

Australian Communications and Media Authority v Mobilegate Ltd A Company Incorporated in Hong Kong [2009] FCA 539

Spam Act Read More »