AOL Files More Suits, May Seek Federal Anti-Spam Law

America Online Inc. filed suit against a pornographic spammer accused of using the AOL tradename, and said it may seek federal legislation to put spammers out of the business.

In a speech before the Jupiter Consumer Online Conference in New York on Thursday, America Online CEO Steve Case announced “AOL’s 10 Most Wanted Spammer List,” which include Lovetoys Online, the Notoriously Nasty Spammer, PlanetLovejoy, and loseweight.org.

He said the company would build a case against each one and pursue them in court where possible.

“Like the online consumer, we’re fed up with spam. We are adopting a block and tackle strategy against spammers. That is, we’re going to block as many of their emails at the gateway as we can, and we’re going to tackle them in court,” Case said.

AOL also filed suit against a company that it accused of it using the AOL and AOL.com trade names on a series of pornographic Web sites, as well as in spam sent to AOL members promoting the sites.

The company also said that it had obtained a judgment in its anti-spam lawsuit against Prime Data Worldnet Systems Inc. and its proprietor, Vernon N. Hale.

In addition, the company said that another spam defendant, Squeaky Clean Marketing, had agreed to a permanent injunction that will bar Squeaky Clean Marketing from ever emailing AOL members again.

The latest lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, charges one Eddie Davidson and his two firms, Web Communications and Sex Web Inc., with violations of the federal copyright statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the Virginia Computer Crimes Act.

The suit alleges that Davidson and his two firms unlawfully transacted business under names like AOLsex.com.

The suit seeks damages and an injunction barring Davidson and the two companies from continuing the transmission of unsolicited email to AOL members promoting sexually explicit Web sites.

AOL said that the defendants copied the design of its AOL.com Web site and falsely included the company’s domain name in return addresses in order to make it appear that the site and solicitations were sponsored or approved by AOL.

“The conduct of these defendants has been nothing short of outrageous. They have been actively engaged in transmitting millions of unsolicited, unwanted emails advertising pornographic Web sites without regard to the age of their recipients,” said George Vradenburg, senior vice president and general counsel of America Online.

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