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Missouri Files First Spam Suits

The state attorney general files the first two suits under Missouri's six-week-old anti-spam law.

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Missouri's attorney general announced on Thursday the first lawsuits under that state's new anti-spam law.

The suits, filed in St. Louis City Circuit Court, stem from the anti-spam law Missouri enacted in late August. The law requires that commercial senders carry an "adv:" label and comply immediately with unsubscribe requests. It defines spam as any commercial e-mail from a person or business that does not have a pre-existing business relationship with the recipient. Violators are subject to prosecution by the state and civil penalties of $5,000 per e-mail, up to $25,000 per day.

Jay Nixon, Missouri's attorney general, accuses two Florida-based e-mailers with violating these provisions. In the first case, the attorney general says Palm Beach resident Phillip Nixon e-mailed five unsolicited offers for architectural plans to the state's anti-spam e-mail address, nospam@moago.org. The suit claims the messages were not labeled and did not stop when requested.

The second suit was filed against a Boca Raton company called Fundetective.com. The action alleges the company sent out a number of unsolicited messages advertising short-term loans and personal information gathering services. Again, the attorney general's office said the e-mails were not labeled as required under the law.

Both suits seek the maximum $5,000 penalty per violation, in addition to injunctions against further unsolicited commercial e-mail that violates Missouri law.

Missouri is one of 35 states to enact anti-spam measures. Earlier this month, California enacted a tough anti-spam law that requires e-mail providers and advertisers to receive "direct consent" from consumers they e-mail. Many commercial e-mailers complain the hodgepodge of state laws make full compliance nearly impossible. The industry's trade groups want proposed federal anti-spam legislation to supercede state laws and create a universal standard.






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