California ISP wins $2.6M judgment against spammers

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A small California ISP this week was awarded nearly $2.6 million stemming from a lawsuit filed against a company accused of delivering nearly 25,000 spam messages.

Asis Internet Services received 24,724 emails from the defendants, doing business as Find a Quote, between Nov. 16, 2006 and May 5, 2008, according to the judgment, signed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The barrage of spam caused the 15-year-old ISP, serving some 1,000 customers in Garberville, Calif., to lose business, in addition to time and money that it spent to resolve the problem, documents said.

The ISP argued that the defendants violated the federal CAN-SPAM Act. The complaint sought nearly $3.1 million in damages, the maximum amount available to them under law, based on the number of spam emails involved.

However, in her decision, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth LaPorte, said she was not convinced the defendants' offenses warranted a judgment of that size. She compared her decision to a recent $711 million award granted to Facebook in October. Attorneys representing the social networking site had sought damages of $7 billion, but a judge decided to reduce the compensation.

In Asis' case, the company was awarded $865,340. The award was tripled because the defendants committed "aggravated actions" in their spam assault, such as using directory harvest attacks and automated scripts to acquire email accounts, LaPorte wrote.

The total award was $2,596,020.

A representative for Asis could not be reached for comment on Friday. There was no contact information available for Find a Quote.

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