MySpace Wins $234M Suit Against Spammers
My own account was so inundated with it that I refused to check my account on MySpace for months and have only recently braved opening my Inbox, still wary of the abundance of hoax messages it had previously contained.
In this spam-heavy period, I'm sure many users jumped ship to Facebook simply to get away from the noise. I know I did.
Although MySpace's legal victory against spammers, today, provides a subtle deterrant to would-be future spam kings, it can't delete the huge backlog of annoying spamtastic messages that have clogged up our online communications for too long already.
The popular online hangout MySpace has won a $234 million judgment over junk messages sent to its members in what is believed to be the largest anti-spam award ever, The Associated Press has learned.
A federal judge ruled against two of the Internet's most prominent spam defendants, Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines, after the two failed to show up at a court hearing.
Wallace has earned the nicknames "Spamford" and "spam king" for his past role as head of a company that sent as many as 30 million junk e-mails a day in the 1990s.
"MySpace has zero tolerance for those who attempt to act illegally on our site," said MySpace's chief security officer, Hemanshu Nigam. "We remain committed to punishing those who violate the law and try to harm our members."
Rines and Wallace worked in concert to create their own MySpace accounts or take over existing ones by stealing passwords, Nigam said.
They then e-mailed other MySpace members, he said, "asking them to check out a cool video or another cool site. When you go there, they were making money trying to sell you something or making money based on hits or trying to sell ring tones."
MySpace said the pair sent 735,925 messages to MySpace members. Under the 2003 federal anti-spam law known as CAN-SPAM, each violation entitles MySpace to $100 in damages, tripled when conducted "willfully and knowingly."
It's a big victory for MySpace, although service providers often have a tough time collecting such awards. But even if the News Corp.-owned site never collects, it hopes the judgment will deter other spammers.
"Anybody who's been thinking about engaging in spam are going to say, `Wow, I better not go there,'" Nigam said. "Spammers don't want to be prosecuted. They are there to make money. It's our job to send a message to stop them."