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Microsoft Sues Spammers

December 3rd, 2004

Microsoft announced today that is filing 7 lawsuits against spammers for failing to label sexually explicit messages. The lawsuits were filed in Washington State Superior Court, alleging that defendants violated the recent Can-Spam law’s “brown paper wrapper” provision, which requires that sexually explicit content be labeled as such in the header.

“Sexually explicit materials and publications for sale in stores are required by law to be covered from view with a brown paper wrapper, and it´s important that consumers are protected online in the same way,” Nancy Anderson, Microsoft deputy general counsel, said in a statement.

In addition, the lawsuits are charging that the unnamed defendants broke state and federal laws by using zombie PC’s – PC’s controlled without the knowledge of their owners – to route spam messages to make detection more difficult. Microsoft is also alleging that the defendants did not offer sufficient unsubscribe options and working email addresses – also required by Can-Spam.

These 7 cases will bring the total of anti-spam cases launched by Microsoft to nearly 100. Microsoft is part of a group of companies pursuing spammers around the world. Other members of the loose consortium include Microsoft, America Online, Yahoo and EarthLink, which together make up the Anti-Spam Alliance, filed a round of lawsuits in October against people who allegedly violated the Can-Spam Act.

The pursuit have spammers hasn’t yet made a significant impact on the amount of spam being sent, which is why various companies are trying to agree on a standard way of identifying users as people, ensuring that email sent from computers is from the owners of those computers and ensuring that users can restrict who can send email to their inbox.

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