Big ISPs File Second Round of CAN-SPAM Suits

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Top Internet service providers began a second coordinated legal blitz against spammers yesterday, filing seven lawsuits under the CAN-SPAM Act.

AOL, EarthLink, Microsoft and Yahoo filed suits against individuals and companies they accuse of violating the nearly year-old federal law banning fraudulent commercial e-mail. The ISPs, which are part of the Anti-Spam Technical Alliance, announced a first round of CAN-SPAM suits in March.

The four ISPs filed the suits in four states. The lawsuits target a range of illegal activity, including one filed by AOL that accuses 20 unnamed defendants of using AOL Instant Messenger to send spam. AOL filed another suit against 10 unnamed defendants, alleging the sending of fraudulent e-mail touting pharmaceuticals like Vicodin. Both suits were filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia.

Microsoft filed three lawsuits that allege defendants spoofed return addresses and used open proxies to send millions of e-mails touting products like herbal growth supplements and cut-rate mortgages. EarthLink filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Atlanta against 50 unnamed defendants, also alleging spoofing and the use of open proxies. Yahoo sued a company called East Coast Exotics Entertainment Group in U.S. District Court in San Jose, CA, alleging the sending of sexually explicit messages by fraudulent methods.

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