FTC slaps alleged pornography spammer with hefty fine

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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stung a pornography marketer with a US$465,000 civil penalty this week for breaking anti-spam regulations that require an email warning of sexually explicit materials.

TJ Web Productions agreed to pay the fine as a part of a settlement with the FTC following a court battle that lasted a year. The federal agency pursued TJ Web as part of a government crackdown on X-rated spam began in July 2005.

A year ago, the FTC charged seven companies with violating the agency's Adult Labeling Rule and the CAN-SPAM Act’ requirement that commercial email with sexually explicit material include the phrase "SEXUALLY EXPLICIT" in the subject line.

In most cases, according to the FTC complaint, those charged used misleading subject lines to trick consumers into opening their marketing mail.

"In numerous instances, to induce consumers to open and read their commercial emails, defendants have initiated commercial email messages containing materially false or misleading header information," the complaint read, adding that many of the emails contained spoofed return addresses.

As a part of the settlement, TJ Web agreed to never break the anti-spam laws again.

Click here to email West Coast Bureau Chief Ericka Chickowski.
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