String ‘Em Up

California Court Issues First Anti-Spam Judgment:

On October 24, 2003, the Superior Court of California for the County of Santa Clara issued a final judgment and injunction in the civil case of People v. Willis, ordering defendants to jointly and severally pay a $2 million fine for violating California’s anti-spam, consumer protection, and unfair business practice laws and enjoining them from sending unsolicited commercial e-mail messages and other practices that would violate the law. The judgment — entered by default because defendants failed to appear in court or defend themselves in a timely way — marks the end of California’s first ever anti-spam lawsuit.

Besides assessing $2 million in fines, the court enjoined defendants from nine specific business practices. Several of the injunction’s provisions require defendants to comply with existing law. However, the injunction also bars defendants from a) sending unsolicited commercial e-mail; b) sending any e-mail for which the sender appears to be something other than the actual sender, or for which replies could not be received by the sender, or which includes misleading information about the country/mail server sending the message; c) using false or misleading information to register an Internet domain name; or d) selling or otherwise distributing lists of e-mail addresses for use in sending unsolicited commercial e-mail. The injunction also prevents either Willis or Griffin from owning or operating any business (other than a publicly-traded business) that advertises over the Internet for ten years.

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