The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Zango's request for a TRO against PC Tools denied

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how spyware maker Zango is suing PC Tools for labeling them as spyware and removing them from users' computers.

The latest news from SunbeltBLOG is that their request for a temporary restraining order has been denied by the court (pdf, 9 pages). (Link via Spam Notes.)

To summarize the court papers: The latest version of PC Tools' Spyware Doctor program gives Zango the most benign rating available, but still lists them. Zango says this isn't good enough because older versions of Spyware Doctor are still available, and because Zango doesn't want to be listed at all. Zango admits they distributed harmful malware before, but says they've gone straight since they were fined $3M by the FTC.

The court agrees that Zango will suffer harm to its reputation if it PC Tools continues to label them as a "Potentially Unwanted Application" but disagrees that the harm is significant enough to warrant a TRO, especially given that PC Tools has already taken steps to mediate the harm.

More significantly — and here are the best parts — the court has stated that it thinks that Zango is unlikely to win their case on the merits (page 6).

But most significantly of all, on page 8, the court rules that the public interest favors the defendant. That is, "it is in the public interest to allow companies similar to Defendant to be able to exercise their judgment and block potential malware applications"

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