AOL issued temporary restraining order

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A Federal Court in Philadelphia issued a temporary restraining order to America Online, Dulles, Va., on Sept. 5 ruling that the online service could not restrict e-mail from Cyber Promotions, Philadelphia, to AOL customers who want to receive it.

Cyber Promotions is affiliated with three of the five sites AOL blocked from e-mailing to its customers this week in a crackdown against "spamming," the process of broadcasting unsolicited e-mail. AOL may appeal the court's decision, according to AOL's associate general counsel David W. Phillips.

Cyber Promotions president Sanford A. Wallace said he was pleased with the court ruling. He added that one site censored by AOL was actually Cyber Promotions' Internet service provider Servint, McLean, Va., an ISP with multiple clients who now may not be able to send e-mail to AOL because of the block against Cyber Promotions. As of Sept. 19, because of the AOL gesture, Cyber Promotions will have to seek a new ISP..

AOL blocked the sites to punish online e-mailers which frequently send unsolicited e-mail promotions to more than 15% of AOL's six million members. Blocked sites included the following:,,,, and

Also on Sept. 5, AOL began offering what Mr. Phillips called "e-mail empowerment tools" through its parental controls features. The tools let a subscriber block all e-mail, e-mail with attachments, or e-mail from specific addresses.

The move is a strong gesture from AOL, which uses e-mail campaigns to its members for public relations efforts, like damage control on (Business Marketing, Sept. 1996) and often posts in-house direct promotions for merchandise or CD-Roms on its home screens, giving the user the choice to order or cancel..

Copyright September 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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