Facebook awarded $711 Million in spam lawsuit

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, 30 October 2009, 09:38 Hrs   |    2 Comments
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Facebook awarded $711 Million in spam lawsuit
California: Facebook has won a whopping $711 million in a lawsuit filed against self proclaimed "spam king" Sanford Wallace for violating the Can-Spam Act, which bans "false and misleading" marketing e-mails. Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California also found that Wallace "willfully violated" a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction issued in the case and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney's Office for prosecution of criminal contempt, according to CNET.

"The record demonstrates that Wallace willfully violated the statutes in question with blatant disregard for the rights of Facebook and the thousands of Facebook users whose accounts were compromised by his conduct," Fogel wrote in his judgment order, which also permanently prohibits Wallace from accessing the Facebook Web site or creating a Facebook account, among other restrictions.

This case will be a lesson for other spammers not to take the law lightly. "While we don't expect to receive the vast majority of the award, we hope that this will act as a continued deterrent against these criminals. This is another important victory in our fight against spam. We will continue to pursue damages against other spammers," said Sam O'Rourke, Facebook's Lead Counsel for Litigation and Intellectual Property on his Facebook blog post.

Wallace has earned the name "spam king" and "Spamford" due to his past job as head of CyberPromotions, which was a company responsible for sending as many as 30 million junk e-mails a day in the 1990s. Facebook had sued Sanford and two others in February alleging they used phishing sites or other means to fraudulently gain access to Facebook accounts and used them to distribute phishing spam throughout the network.

This is not the first time Wallace had to pay huge amount of money. In May 2008, Wallace and another defendant were ordered to pay MySpace.com $234 million. Wallace has also been previously sued by the Federal Trade Commission and companies such as AOL and Concentric Network. In May 2006, Wallace and his company Smartbot.net were ordered by a federal court to turn over $4.1 million.

Facebook has earned a huge chunk of money before as well under Can-Spam Act. Late last year, the federal court in San Jose awarded Facebook $873 million in damages against a Canadian man accused of spamming users of the site.

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