Spammers in the US have been forced to pay more than $1 billion to an ISP in a federal judgment, believed to be the largest ever imposed on mass mailers.
A suit filed by Robert Kramer, owner of an Iowa-based email service provider with about 5,000 subscribers, resulted in the federal hearing and an enormous fine for three spamming organisations.
AMP Dollar Savings of Arizona was ordered to pay $720 million, and Cash Link Systems and TEI Marketing of Florida were ordered to pay $360 million and $140,000 respectively. The figures amounts to $10 per spam email received with the final figure tripled under Iowa anti-spam law.
"It's definitely a victory for all of us that open up our email and find lewd and malicious and fraudulent email in our boxes every day," said Kramer, speaking to US news group CNN.
No representatives from the three companies were present at the hearing and Kramer's attorney said it was unlikely that he would receive any money as a result.
But David Emm, senior technology consultant at security firm Kaspersky, saw the conviction as a encouraging step.
"Hopefully it will dissuade spammers and also show that if people pursue prosecutions against these guys they can be successful."
The case remains active with three other defendants still involved.