August 4, 2005

Court Rules University of Texas Can Block Dating E-Mails

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The University of Texas didn't violate the free-speech rights of an online dating service when it blocked thousands of unsolicited e-mails, a federal appeals court says.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also found that although White Buffalo Ventures LLC, which operates, complied with the requirements of the federal anti-spam law, known as CAN-SPAM, the university can still set its own anti-spam policy.

White Buffalo had sued the university over 59,000 messages blocked by spam filters in 2003. The Austin-based service had legally obtained the addresses from UT but the university blocked the e-mail messages, saying White Buffalo was part of a larger spam problem that had crashed the computer system.

The university said it was also responding to complaints from students and faculty.

The court, in a ruling Tuesday, determined that White Buffalo complied with federal law and that its e-mails were not illegal. However, CAN-SPAM does not supersede protection measures employed by an Internet service provider, and the court interpreted ISPs to include the university.