MySpace sues the ‘Spam King’ for $100m

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MySpace, the social networking site owned by News Corp, on Tuesday filed a $100m lawsuit against Sanford Wallace, the so-called “Spam King,” after he allegedly tried to gain access to the company’s user profiles.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles, alleges that Mr Wallace created profiles, groups and forums on MySpace to direct users to websites he owned or operated. The company also alleges that Mr Wallace spammed thousands of users with unwanted advertisements that promoted his websites.

MySpace said it was filing suit for violations of state and federal laws, including the 2003 CAN-SPAM act and California’s anti-spam and anti-phishing statutes.

MySpace is the latest in a series of companies to have taken action to thwart Mr Wallace, with CompuServe, Concentric Network and AOL, all having sued him.

Mr Wallace has also been the subject of a Federal Trade Commission action, which forced him to pay more than $4m after it brought a lawsuit against him.

“Individuals who try to spam...our members are not welcome on MySpace,” said Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer for MySpace. “We will continue to aggressively protect our members through a combination of legal action, law enforcement pursuit, and technological enhancements.”

While companies such as MySpace fight a rising tide of unsolicited e-mails, US financial regulators are also trying to tackle the problem. Trading was recently suspended in 35 over-the-counter stocks that had been the subject of phish e-mails touting their potential as good investments.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission recently estimated that more than 100m illegal stock-touting e-mails are sent each week.

The majority are for so-called “pump-and-dump” schemes in which stock promoters buy penny stocks and try to resell them to gullible investors at higher prices.

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