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US Court Prohibits Malicious Spam from Adult Site

A US District Court judge has ordered the executors of porn-related Websites to halt an e-mail campaign they were running after the US Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice complained that the messages violated an US anti-spam law, the FTC revealed it on May 6, 2008.

FTC officials disclosed that the partners of ATM Global Systems, operator of the Websites, Funhookups.com and Sexyfriendsearch.com, distributed unsolicited e-mails that had false header information, and no opt-out mechanism or a convincing mailing address, all of which violated the US law.

An order issued on May 2, 2008 from the US District Court in Illinois, Eastern Division, prohibits the company alongwith its owners, Nathaniel Seidman and Mark Richman, from violating the US CAN-SPAM Act any further. It also orders that the firm to monitor its affiliates in addition to penalizing it with a fine of US$75,000.

The judge ordered that the defendants must pay $442,900 in civil penalty. The amount is equivalent to what they had churned from their spamming operation. However, as per the defendants' ability to pay, the entire amount, except $75,000, was suspended. But, if according to the court, the defendants wrongly represented their economic status, then they would have to pay the remaining amount as well. The settlement specifies that the requirements for keeping a record to enable the FTC to supervise compliance.

Officials at FTC said that the company is located in Boca Raton, Florida. It has been using partners to draw people to its different Websites since January 2006 or even earlier. The partners were paid commissions for collecting names of users, who agreed to subscribe to the Websites. For that the affiliates distributed spam messages using sensational subject lines. Further, the e-mails contained misleading header information due to which the recipients could not determine the sender's identity.

The e-mails also failed to issue a notification that users could choose not to receive such e-mails again. Finally, there was no proper postal address. Since the CAN-SPAM Act requires commercial e-mail to have the correct header information, a mechanism to opt-out from receiving messages and a sound postal address, the commission alleged that the defendants breached the law.

Related article: US Passes Baton to Asia in Spam Relay

ยป SPAMfighter News - 09-05-2008

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