I'm back from holidays.
Thanks for the encouraging inbox full of helpful emails in the meantime; it's great to know that I'm not alone in the fight against dishonesty, malware and legal threats from large corporate entities such as Zango. A number of helpful people have directed my attention to Chilling Effects, where I have entered my own contribution.
When I telephoned Zango, their representative (who also claimed to be a lawyer) told me they had sent out a "wave" of such letters recently. A quick search at Chilling Effects didn't turn up any other Zango C&D notices. Perhaps the Zango rep was mistaken, or perhaps Zango is having some success with their dishonest campaign. However, since I can't confirm any bad news at all, here is some good news instead.
There is good news for consumers!
Zango's ridiculous case against Kaspersky has been thrown out. Apparently the Communications Decency Act makes it legal for users to decide for themselves if they should be subjected to material that is "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, and harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected." It appears that malware (in the words of the court, "potentially harmful or malicious software") authors such as Zango have no right to complain when their tainted wares are removed by antivirus vendors such as Kaspersky.
Zango has also given up on their lawsuit against PC Tools. After the court informed Zango that it is "unlikely that the Plaintiff will be able to prove that the Defendant’s software was unfair or deceptive" Zango decided against pursuing the anti-malware vendor.
The estimable Ben Edelman has further Zango updates on his website.
Update: the bad news.
Zango is up to dirty tricks again (did they ever stop?) this time hijacking other peoples' videos for profit. Chris Pirillo writes,
Now, unless I missed a checkbox somewhere, I don’t remember giving Zango permission to push crapware on my behalf. It’s the software installation part that has me queasy, especially given their questionable past. How many people have been duped into believing that they needed to install Zango before they could watch anybody’s video?
Update September 7th:
It looks like Revver and Zango are in bed together, and it is this unholy matrimony which has led to people being duped into installing Zango malware. More details on Mr. Pirillo's site.
Here is a further post with Revver's reply and a bit more information on Zango's involvement.