July 20, 2005

Porn cos pay $1.16 million in spam crackdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five pornography companies have
agreed to pay $1.16 million in fines for sending "spam" e-mail
without a warning that it contains sexually explicit material,
U.S. regulators said on Wednesday.

Three other businesses also face lawsuits for sending
improperly labeled e-mail, the Federal Trade Commission said.

Under FTC rules, commercial e-mailers must include the
phrase "SEXUALLY EXPLICIT" in the subject lines of pornographic
messages to allow consumers to more easily filter them out.

Marketers also must ensure that the messages don't contain
graphic sexual images when they are first opened up.

The companies targeted in the crackdown didn't actually
send out the messages but are still liable because they hired
others to do so, the FTC said.

According to the FTC, BangBros.com Inc. of Florida agreed
to pay $650,000; MD Media of Michigan will pay $238,743, and
APC Entertainment Inc. of Florida will pay $220,000. Pure
Marketing Solutions and Internet Matrix Technology together
will pay $50,000 to settle the charges.

The companies also agreed to allow the FTC to monitor their
operations to make sure they comply with existing laws.

Three other companies also face lawsuits for improper
labeling: TJ Web Productions, based in Nevada; Cyberheat Inc.
of Arizona; and Impulse Media, of Washington State.

Microsoft Corp. helped in the investigation, the FTC said.