CALIF. WINS $2 MILLION ANTI-SPAM JUDGEMENT

Marketer Charged With Using Bogus E-mail Headers

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The California attorney general's office has won a $2 million judgement against an Internet marketer whose e-mail blasts were using bogus header information. The judgement, in Santa Clara County Superior Court, may provide a sense of the potential impact of the state's new anti-spam law, due to take effect next year.

The judgement against PW Marketing of California

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came as a result of a prosecution under an older California law that was aimed mostly at e-mails containing fraudulent header information. The header is the part of the e-mail that should contain the e-mail address and other information that identifies the sender.

Unregistered company names
The attorney general, Bill Lockyer, sued Paul Willis, Claudia Griffin and PW Marketing for sending out e-mails listed as coming from e-mail addresses they didn't own and using company names they never registered.

The new state law puts new limits on all unsolicited e-mails, even e-mails that contain correct header information. Marketing groups, which are trying to get Congress to pass legislation preempting the state law, say California's law could affect e-mail marketing nationwide.

'Make money with junk e-mail'
One e-mails the company sent offered a $79 "Internet marketing kit e-book" that included a chapter entitled "How to make money with junk e-mail: A complete overview of techniques used by successful bulk mailers that are making a fortune with bulk e-mail."

The defendants never answered the attorney general's lawsuit and did not return AdAge.com's phone call.

Besides the $2 million judgement, the court also issued an injunction barring the defendants from sending unsolicited commercial e-mail (otherwise known as spam), disguising their identity or sending e-mail with fraudulent information.

Tougher law
The new California law has more teeth. It will allow individuals to file class action suits against marketers alleged to be spamming. Last week the Direct Marketing Association issued a warning to its members that they could face fines of $1,000 per e-mail or $1 million if they send unsolicited e-mails to California residents with whom no "current business relationship" or "specific consent" to the e-mail exists.

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