FTC takes action against illegal porn spam

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The Federal Trade Commission has charged seven companies with violating federal laws requiring warning labels on sexually-explicit email.

The companies hired others to send illegal pornographic spam on their behalf. Four of the seven FTC cases have reached settlements resulting in civil penalties of $1.2 million.

Under the Can-Spam Act, commercial emailers who send sexually-explicit material must label it as such in the subject line. The law also applies to those who hire others to send the material.

In addition to violating the adult labeling rule, the defendents also failed to provide a clear opt-out mechanism for consumers or a postal address, according to the FTC.

Under the settlements reached with the FTC, Florida-based BangBros.com will pay $650,000; MD Media of Michigan will pay $238,743; APC Entertainment of Florida will pay $220,000; and Pure Marketing Solutions, also of Florida, and Louisiana-based Matrix Technology will together pay $50,000.

Suits have been filed in U.S. District Courts against TJ Web Productions of Nevada, Cyberheat of Arizona, and Impulse Media of Washington.

Microsoft aided the investigation of the cases by analyzing domains associated with thousands of pornographic messages, which the FTC collected, against the spam Microsoft catches in its open "trap accounts."

Earlier this month, SC Magazine reported the FTC won an injunction against a Houston-based company for making "deceptive" anti-spyware claims.

www.ftc.gov

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