Omega World Journey, Inc. v. Mummagraphics, Inc., 469 F.3d 348 (4th Cir. 2006), is a case in america Courtroom of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit through which Mummagraphics, Inc. is sued by Omega World Journey, Inc. (Omega) and (a completely owned subsidiary of Omega) after Mummagraphic alleged that they acquired 11 business e-mail messages in violation of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Advertising and marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003 in addition to Oklahoma state legislation. Within the preliminary submitting, america District Courtroom for the Japanese District of Virginia had awarded abstract judgment to Omega on all of Mummagraphics’ claims discovering that the business emails from Omega didn’t violate the CAN-SPAM Act, and that the CAN-SPAM Act preempted Oklahoma state legislation. The Courtroom of Appeals affirmed.


The appellant (authentic plaintiff) was Mummagraphics, Inc., an Oklahoma company with its solely place of operation in Oklahoma Metropolis.[1] It supplied internet primarily based providers and hosted web sites dedicated to opposing spam messages. These web sites included and Its president was Mark Mumma.[1]

The appellees (authentic defendant) included Omega World Journey, Inc. and was an operator of an internet site that offered cruise holidays. It despatched electronic mail commercials, also referred to as “E-deals,” to potential clients.[1]

Background[edit] despatched 11 e-mails containing journey gives to [email protected], an electronic mail handle operated by Mummagraphics. Every message contained a hyperlink on which the recipient may click on with a purpose to be faraway from future mailings, and every message additionally said that the recipient may opt-out of future e-mails by writing to a postal handle supplied in every e-mail handle. Every message additionally contained a hyperlink to the web site and a toll-free telephone quantity for the corporate.[1]

Mummagraphics claimed that the e-mail messages contained a number of inaccuracies. First, every message said that the recipient had signed up for the mailing listing, nevertheless it had not requested that [email protected] obtain the corporate’s gives. Second, whereas every message listed because the sending group, every additionally included the handle “FL-Broadcast.web” (not a website identify linked to in its header data. As well as, the messages’ “from” area listed [email protected], an electronic mail handle that had stopped utilizing.[1]

Upon receiving the emails, Mumma didn’t use the opt-out hyperlink to take away the e-mail handle from the electronic mail listing. As an alternative, Mumma known as Omega’s common counsel and complained that he had not requested to obtain the e-mail messages. He additionally refused to make use of electronic mail opt-out mechanisms, and as an alternative threatened to sue for violations of Oklahoma legislation. Omega requested Mumma for the e-mail handle at which he was receiving the e-mail messages, however Mumma didn’t give it to them. As an alternative, he requested Omega to take away from all future mailings each handle containing any of the domains listed on Mummagraphics’ web site. Omega indicated that it will accomplish that however later realized that eradicating all these addresses required appreciable effort. So it didn’t instantly take away the addresses.[1]

A day later, Mummagraphics acquired one other electronic mail message at [email protected] It despatched a letter to Omega stating that it had acquired a number of unsolicited electronic mail messages from However once more didn’t specify the e-mail handle at which the messages have been being acquired. The letter claimed that the messages violated federal and state legal guidelines and mentioned that Mummagraphics meant to sue for at the least $150,000 in statutory damages until they settled the matter for $6,250. It additionally connected the emails to his letter. For these electronic mail attachments, Omega was ready to determine the e-mail handle at which Mummagraphics was receiving the business emails and eliminated it from the mailing listing.[1]

When Omega refused to pay the demanded settlement cash, Mummagraphics accused Omega and of being “spammers” on its “anti-spam” web sites. It additionally posted photos of the Omega and executives, taken from their respective web sites, on these “anti-spam” websites. On the premise of those postings, Omega and sued Mummagraphics claiming defamation, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unauthorized use of likeness. Mummagraphics raised counterclaims underneath CAN-SPAM Act and the Oklahoma legislation (these have been the one claims that have been pending in entrance of Fourth Circuit). It alleged that the e-mails contained actionable inaccuracies and that it did not adjust to opt-out provisions. The district courtroom held that the CAN-SPAM Act preempted Mummagraphics’ claims underneath Oklahoma’s statutes. It additional held that had not violated the CAN-SPAM Act as a result of the e-mail inaccuracies weren’t substantial and opt-out provisions weren’t violated. Mummagraphics appealed.[1]

Prior Historical past[edit]

The district courtroom had awarded abstract judgment to Omega on all of Mummagraphic’s claims on the grounds that the CAN-SPAM Act preempted Mummagraphic’s claims underneath Oklahoma’s statutes. As well as, Mummagraphics had did not allege materials inaccuracies or sample of failure to adapt to opt-out necessities that’s needed to ascertain legal responsibility underneath the CAN-SPAM Act.[1]

Fourth Circuit Courtroom of Appeals[edit]

Mummagraphics’ claims underneath Oklahoma state legislation[edit]

The Fourth Circuit upheld the district courtroom holding that Oklahoma legislation couldn’t cowl these emails as a result of the CAN-SPAM Act preempted state legislation with regard to immaterial misrepresentation. The courtroom reasoned that the CAN-SPAM Act’s exceptions solely permit states to punish “falsity and deception,” and immaterial illustration falls outdoors of the which means of those phrases. Thus, in keeping with the courtroom, the CAN-SPAM Act implicitly prevented states from punishing immaterial misrepresentations like those right here.

Mummagraphics argued that it was entitled to damages underneath the provisions of Oklahoma legislation which offer that “[i]t shall be illegal for an individual to provoke an digital electronic mail message that the sender is aware of, or has causes to know (1) misrepresents any data in figuring out the purpose of origin or the transmission path of the electronic message message; (2) doesn’t include data figuring out the purpose of origin or the transmission path of the electronic message message; or accommodates false, malicious or deceptive data which purposefully or negligently injures an individual.”[2]

The district courtroom had held that the above provisions of the Oklahoma statute have been preempted by the CAN-SPAM Act insofar as they utilized to immaterial misrepresentations. And since the misrepresentations on this case have been immaterial, Mummagraphics was not entitled to any damages underneath the Oklahoma statutory claims. Upon enchantment, Mummagraphics argued that as a result of the CAN-SPAM Act permits states to “prohibit[] falsity or deception” (underneath 15 U.S.C. § 7707(b)(1)), the district courtroom was incorrect to carry that Oklahoma state legislation couldn’t cowl immaterial misrepresentations.

The Fourth Circuit agreed with the district courtroom discovering that though by its phrases Oklahoma state legislation was not restricted to materials misrepresentations, it was preempted by the CAN-SPAM Act within the case of immaterial misrepresentations. This was so as a result of the CAN-SPAM exception permits states to punish solely “falsity and deception” in business emails. The Courtroom held that though the phrases “falsity and deception” haven’t been outlined within the CAN-SPAM Act, widespread which means of those phrases signifies that the CAN-SPAM exception is relevant solely to materials misrepresentation. The courtroom defined that “deception” requires greater than naked error. Whereas “falsity” could also be outlined as not being true it additionally conveys a way of tortiuousness and wrongfulness. The phrase “falsity” when learn together with “deception” signifies historically tortious or wrongful conduct. Thus, Congress wouldn’t have meant “falsity” to imply merely an error. Adopting such a which means would additionally defeat the very objective of the CAN-SPAM Act which is to make sure a cautious stability between preserving a doubtlessly helpful business software (digital communication) and stopping its abuse. In line with the courtroom, Mummagraphics’ studying of the “falsity or deception” exception would allow this exception to swallow the entire rule, giving states extra energy than meant and undermining the regulatory stability that Congress established. Accordingly, Mummagraphics’ broad studying of the exception was not appropriate with the construction of the CAN-SPAM Act as a complete.[1]

Thus, Mummagraphics’ claims underneath Oklahoma state legislation failed.[1]

Mummagraphics’ claims underneath the CAN-SPAM Act[edit]

Mummagraphics argued that violated the CAN-SPAM Act by placing inaccurate header data within the business emails. The courtroom famous that the CAN-SPAM Act supplied at 15 U.S.C. § 7704(a)(1) that “[i]t is illegal for any individual to preliminary the transmission, to a pc of a business piece of email . . . that accommodates, or is accompanied by, header data that’s materially deceptive.” The Act additional explains that “materially” when utilized in reference to false or deceptive header data, consists of “alteration or concealment of header data in a way that might impair the power . . . to determine, find, or reply to an individual who initiated the electronic message message or to analyze the alleged violation, or the power of a recipient of the message to reply to an individual who initiated the piece of email.”15 U.S.C. § 7704(a)(6) Mummagraphics alleged that the emails violated this provision of the CAN-SPAM Act as a result of their emails’ header incorrectly indicated that the emails have been despatched from “FL-Broadcast.web” and in addition as a result of the emails’ “from” handle indicated an electronic mail handle that was non-functional.

The courtroom rejected these claims, discovering that the alleged misrepresentations weren’t “materially false or deceptive” in view of the CAN-SPAM Act. The courtroom seen that the very objective of the emails was to encourage the recipients to contact to e-book the cruises that the emails marketed. For this objective, the emails, despite the fact that contained incorrect data of their headers, have been in any other case full of how to “determine, find or reply to the sender” or to “examine [an] alleges violation” of the CAN-SPAM Act. 15 U.S.C. § 7704(a)(1). For instance, every electronic mail had a hyperlink to the web site and a toll free contact quantity to name. As a result of the emails contained correct identifiers in regards to the sender, any inaccuracies within the header couldn’t have impaired the efforts of any recipient, legislation enforcement group, or different celebration elevating a CAN-SPAM declare to seek out the corporate.

The courtroom additionally rejected Mummagraphics’ declare for alleged violation of the CAN-SPAM Act’s e-mail elimination provisions. At 15 U.S.C. § 7704(a)(3), the Act requires that business emails embrace “a functioning return electronic message handle or different type of Web-based mechanism . . . {that a} recipient might use to submit . . . web primarily based communication requesting to not obtain future business electronic message messages.” The Act additionally requires at 15 U.S.C. § 7704(a)(4)(A) that the senders of the business emails honor requests for elimination made through these mechanisms inside 10 enterprise days. As well as, at 15 U.S.C. § 7706(g)(1) the Act additionally permits web entry service suppliers to deliver go well with underneath these provisions for “a sample or observe” that violates the necessities. The courtroom held that Mummagraphics’ sole allegation that the appellees did not take away [email protected] from the ′′E-deals′′ mailing listing inside 10 days of Mark Mumma’s name to Omega’s common counsel didn’t fulfill the usual of “a sample or observe.”

Thus, Mummagraphics’ claims underneath the CAN-SPAM Act failed too.

Mummagraphics’ tort claims underneath the Oklahoma state legislation[edit]

As regards to the Mummagraphics’ tort declare asserting that’s emails amounted to trespass to chattels underneath the Oklahoma state legislation, the courtroom held that the district courtroom appropriately granted abstract judgment on this declare as a result of Mummagraphics’ had not provided proof that the emails induced Mummagraphics greater than nominal damages.

The Courtroom defined that trespass to chattel is a standard tort that could be dedicated by deliberately (a) dispossessing one other of the chattel, or (b) utilizing or intermeddling with a chattel in possession of one other.[3][4] Such claims could also be introduced solely when the trespasser (a) disposes the opposite of the chattel, (b) the chattel is impaired as to its situation, high quality or worth, (c) the processor is disadvantaged of using the chattel for a considerable time, or (d) physique hurt is induced to the possessor, or hurt is induced to some individual or factor through which the possessor has a legally protected curiosity.[5]

The courtroom famous that no Oklahoma courtroom had earlier acknowledged trespass to chattels primarily based upon intangible invasions of commuter sources. And the courts which have acknowledged such causes of motion haven’t allowed “an motion for nominal damages for innocent intermeddling with the chattel.”[6] Right here, Mummagraphics had did not submit any proof the receiving the 11 business emails from positioned a significant burden on its pc system. Thus abstract judgment was acceptable on this declare.

Coverage concerns[edit]

Lastly, commenting on the frustration and consternation that unsolicited business e-mails have created among the many giant variety of web customers, the courtroom said that its function was to not decide one of the simplest ways of regulating unsolicited business e-mails.[7] As an alternative, its objective was merely to implement the stability that the Congress sought to struck with the CAN-SPAM Act.


After Omega World Journey, some commentators have been involved that the Fourth Circuit’s interpretation of CAN-SPAM might frustrate customers’ self-help measures and additional insulate spammers from prosecution.[8]
Some commented that the choice made “the very slender and ineffective CAN SPAM legislation much more slender and ineffective.”[9]

See additionally[edit]

Common Data[edit]

Legislation Journal Articles[edit]

  • Spam-a-lot: The states’ campaign in opposition to unsolicited e-mail in gentle of the CAN-SPAM Act and the overbreadth doctrine[10]
  • The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003: A False Hope[11]
  • The Effectiveness of Litigation Beneath the CAN-SPAM Act.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j ok Omega World Journey, Inc. v. Mummagraphics, Inc., 469 F.3d 348 (4th Cir. 2006).
  2. ^ “Okla. Stat. tit. 15, § 776.1A” (PDF). Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  3. ^ “Woodis v. Okla. Gasoline & Elec. Co., 1985 OK 62, 704 P.2nd 483, 485 (Okla. 1985)”.
  4. ^ “Restatement (second) of Torts part 217”.
  5. ^ “Restatement (Second) of Torts § 218”.
  6. ^ “Intel Corp. v. Hamidi, 30 Cal. 4th 1342, 1 Cal. Rptr. 3d 32, 71 P. 3d 296, 302 (Cal. 2003)”.
  7. ^ Hamel, Adam (2005). “Will the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 Lastly Put a Lid on Unsolicited E-Mail?”. New Eng. L. Rev. 39: 961.
  8. ^ Wong, Katherine (2007). “The way forward for spam litigation after omega world journey v. mummagraphics”. Harvard Journal of Legislation and Know-how. 20 (2): 459–78. SSRN 992059.
  9. ^ “What Precisely Is a “Spammer”?”. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  11. ^ Reyero, Jay. “The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003: A False Hope”. SMU Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 11: 195.
  12. ^ Lorentz, David (2011). “The Effectiveness of Litigation Beneath the CAN-SPAM Act”. Rev. Litig. 30: 559.

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