Microsoft Pins Spam Suit on German Company

Rhett Pardon
DUSSELDORF, Germany — Microsoft filed suit this week against an unnamed company for sending millions of spam emails advertising online adult sites.

The company, based in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, runs a network of companies in Ukraine and the United States. Some Hotmail addresses received thousands of emails traceable to the firm, Microsoft said.

The suit, which did not specify monetary damages, was filed under Germany’s unfair business practices code, known as UWG.

Microsoft said the owner of the company has been running spam-for-sale sites and a business renting servers, which were labeled "bulk mailers," to spam companies. For $625 per month, a company could buy enough server space to send 74 million emails, the suit alleges.

But the owner apparently denied the charges. Instead, he blamed “out of control” partners, whom he declined to name.

The company, according to the suit, sent English-language marketing material that also advertised online casinos and other web services.

Dorothee Belz, director of Microsoft’s legal affairs in Germany, said that “the spam business is so well organized that the unwanted emails are sent by third-world countries, where the problem is not so strictly pursued. The actual responsible persons of the unwanted advertising emails come, however, from western industrial nations.”

Germany currently has no law against spam distribution.