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MySpace targets 'Spam King'

Social-networking site follows Microsoft's lead

MySpace has filed a lawsuit against the self-proclaimed "Spam King" for allegedly blasting the portal with spam through the use of compromised user accounts, the web site said today.

MySpace also seeks a permanent injunction to bar Scott Richter, who has fought with Microsoft and the state of New York over spam, and his affiliates from using the popular social-networking site. Richter runs Optinrealbig.com, an email marketing company based in Colorado.

MySpace, which is owned by News Corp, also accused Richter of running afoul of the federal CAN-SPAM act and California's antispam law. The suit was filed Friday in US District Court in Los Angeles.

MySpace users can send "bulletins" - a few lines of text - to blocks of users who are in their circle of friends. That distribution power has made MySpace a frequent target for spammers, who can reach up to thousands of users if they have the log-in and password for a single account.

The lawsuit accuses Richter and his associates of sending millions of bulletins from different user accounts without their knowledge between July and December 2006. The bulletins advertised ring tones and polo shirts, among other products, MySpace said.

The suit alleges Richter obtained a list of compromised accounts or used phishing to construct a fraudulent page that harvests log-ins and passwords.

Richter has had other legal problems. He settled with Microsoft in August 2005 for $7m, the largest settlement Microsoft obtained in more than 100 spam-related suits active at that time.

In 2004, Richter's company settled with the state of New York for $40,000 plus $10,000 in investigative costs, over spam. He also agreed to comply with the CAN-SPAM act and use correct information when registering domain names.


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