Earthlink Wins Multi-Million Dollar Judgment Against Spammers

Michael Hayes
ATLANTA — A company accused of sending millions of spam messages has been ordered to pay Internet service provider Earthlink $11.6 million after a U.S. District court judge ruled against the Nevada-based marketing company because it did not answer the plaintiff’s complaint.

Earthlink filed suit against KSTM under the Can-Spam Act, charging that the company sent misleading emails to promote the website, which it used to sell mortgages online.

Judge Timothy Batten ruled against KSTM, saying that the company “knowingly and willfully” violated the Can-Spam Act.

"This judgment should be fair warning that if you spam, we will sue," Larry Slovensky, assistant general counsel for Earthlink, said

According to the judicial order, KSTM must refrain from engaging in such conduct as falsifying the “from” field in the email address, hiding the identity of the email sender, selling email addresses and accessing or obtaining Earthlink accounts. If the company violates the order, it will be held in contempt of court, Batten said.

The Can-Spam Act requires that a spam email contain accurate header and subject lines, identify itself as an ad, and include the sender’s postal address. The law also requires that the spam give recipients an opt-out method, so consumers can elect not to receive messages from the spammer in the future.

Since 1996, Earthlink has sued hundreds of spammers and won more than $200 million in judgments, including two criminal convictions against spammers who received prison sentences, the company said.

In addition to Earthlink’s Can-Spam claims against KSTM, the ISP also filed suit under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as the Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act.