Adware company Zango has recently struck out in its lawsuits against two anti-spyware software vendors. Zango had used the suits to challenge makers of security software that labeled its products as spyware.
Zangoâ€™s suit against PC Tools was dropped last week. Zangoâ€™s corporate blog refers to the decision as a result of PC Toolsâ€™ modification of its software to warn against Zango software rather than automatically remove it. PC Tools, however, says it modified its software before Zangoâ€™s suit was ever filed, and hails Zangoâ€™s decision to drop the suit as a vindication.
One day later, a federal judge ruled against Zango in a similar case, this time against Kaspersky Lab. The ruling found that the federal Communications Decency Act, Section 230(c )(2), creates a â€œsafe harborâ€ for producers of tools used to filter â€œobjectionable content.â€ The judge noted that in the context of the safe harbor provision, objectionable content is not limited to content that is actually objectionable, but includes material that users and software providers consider to be objectionable. The court granted summary judgment for Kaspersky, effectively ending the case.
In affirming the rights of security software vendors to classify applications based on the vendorsâ€™ own guidelines, the Kaspersky ruling sends a clear message that software producers cannot use lawsuits or the threat of lawsuits to challenge security vendorsâ€™ decisions.