A British-based spam fighter has been slapped with a $11 million (£5.8 million) judgement by a regional US court, although the ruling is not legally valid in the UK.

London-based spam blacklist manager Spamhaus was ordered to pay $11,715,000 in damages to e360insight and its chief executive, David Linhardt, who sued the organisation over his company's blacklisting.

Spamhaus said in a statement: "A lawsuit filed in an Illinois court ... went predictably to default judgement when Spamhaus did not accept US jurisdiction and defend it. Default judgments obtained in US county, state or federal courts have no validity in the United Kingdom and cannot be enforced under the British legal system. The ruling shows that US courts can be bamboozled by spammers with ease."

Spamhaus's lists are offered as a free public service to mail server operators, and are used by 6.5 million users worldwide, according to the company.