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Legal Questions

You're blocking my email, I'm gonna sue!
I have a Right to send email to Spamhaus's users!
I send Unsolicited Bulk Email, but it complies with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act
I send Unsolicited Bulk Email, but it complies with UK Law


You're blocking my email, I'm gonna sue!
Before wasting your time or money on lawyers, it is important to understand what is occuring. Spamhaus is not preventing you from sending email. You can send out as much email as you like, just not to Spamhaus's users.

Spamhaus users (Internet networks and end users that use Spamhaus's blocklists) use our blocklists freely and voluntarily, specifically because they do not want incoming email from IP addresses that we have reason to believe do not fully comply with Spamhaus's policy for acceptance of inbound email.

It is also important to understand that your email never touches Spamhaus's network, nor is it being intercepted or re-routed by us. The mail server you are sending to (the one that is rejecting your messages) is using a filter, set up by the owner of that mail server, that checks to see if the IP address or Domain you are sending from is listed on a Spamhaus blocklist. If it is listed, depending on the policy of the mail server owner the mail server may accept, flag for further filtering, or reject your message. How Internet mail servers handle incoming messages is governed solely by the mail server owners, not Spamhaus, we can only state whether an IP address complies with our published policies or not.

A diagram to help you understand how our blocklist technology works, where mail is being filtered and by whom, is here: http://www.spamhaus.org/whitepapers/dnsbl_function.html



I have a Right to send email to Spamhaus's users!
The rights of every email sender end at the outer boundaries of every recipient's domain. Spamhaus blocklist users have the right to deny access to their private mail servers on their private networks to any sender, for whatever reason. You may have a legal right under certain jurisdictions to send email to our users, but our users have no obligation whatsoever to accept it.


I send Unsolicited Bulk Email, but it complies with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act
We often hear the excuse from US-based senders of Unsolicited Bulk Email ("Spammers") that: "My unsolicited bulk mailings comply with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act which says that sending Unsolicited Bulk Email is not illegal!". In other words, "my spam meets the requirements of US Law therefore I should not be listed for sending it".

The U.S. CAN-SPAM Act does indeed not ban the sending of Unsolicited Bulk Email, it merely outlaws the sending of Unsolicited Bulk Email with false or misleading sender information (and other specified conditions).

The fact that sending Unsolicited Bulk Email, i.e: Spam, is not illegal in the U.S. or any particular country in no way overrides Spamhaus SBL Policy, nor overrides ISP spam filter policies. CAN-SPAM specifically permits all networks and Service Providers, including Spamhaus, to filter (prohibit/reject/block) incoming spam per each network's own policies. Nor does CAN-SPAM override ISP contracts, whose Terms & Conditions of Business (Acceptable Use Policies) all stipulate that sending Unsolicited Bulk Email is prohibited.

If you wish to send bulk marketing communications to Spamhaus users, you must abide by Spamhaus SBL Policy.

The Spamhaus Block List ("SBL") Advisory is a database of IP addresses which do not meet Spamhaus's policy for acceptance of inbound email and therefore from which Spamhaus does not recommend the acceptance of electronic mail. SBL listings are based on Spamhaus' definition of "Spam" meaning "Unsolicited Bulk Email" ("UBE") (see The definition of "spam"). Spamhaus does not evaluate the content or legality of spam, merely whether a message is spam by our definition or not. The responsibility for complying with Spamhaus SBL policy and preventing UBE being sent to Spamhaus users begins and ends with the bulk email sender.



I send Unsolicited Bulk Email, but it complies with UK Law
We often hear the excuse from UK-based senders of Unsolicited Bulk Email ("Spammers") that: "My mailings comply with the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 which says that sending Unsolicited Bulk Email to business addresses is not illegal!". In other words, "my spam meets the requirements of UK Law therefore I should not be listed for sending it".

The fact that sending Unsolicited Bulk Email is not illegal in a certain country in no way overrides Spamhaus SBL Policy, nor ISP spam filter policies. Nor does it override ISP contracts, whose Terms & Conditions of Service all stipulate that sending Unsolicited Bulk Email is prohibited.

If you wish to send bulk marketing communications to Spamhaus users, you must abide by Spamhaus SBL Policy.

The Spamhaus Block List ("SBL") Advisory is a database of IP addresses which do not meet Spamhaus's policy for acceptance of inbound email and therefore from which Spamhaus does not recommend the acceptance of electronic mail. SBL listings are based on Spamhaus' definition of "Spam" meaning "Unsolicited Bulk Email" ("UBE") (see The definition of "spam"). Spamhaus does not evaluate the content or legality of spam, merely whether a message is spam by our definition or not. The responsibility for complying with Spamhaus SBL policy and preventing UBE being sent to Spamhaus users begins and ends with the bulk email sender.



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