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Explicit E-Mail

New York, NY: (Mar-04-08) The US Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice brought charges against X-rated web site operator Cyberheat, alleging that it paid partners who used illegal e-mail to drive customers to its web sites. The suit claimed that though Cyberheat did not send e-mail directly to consumers, they operated an "affiliate marketing" program in which they paid others who used spam to drive traffic to Cyberheat's web sites. The federal agencies alleged that under the CAN-SPAM Act, the defendant is liable for the illegal spam sent by its affiliates because the defendant induced them to send it by offering to pay those who successfully attracted subscriber to its web sites.

As part of a settlement reached, Cyberheat agreed to pay a $413,000 civil penalty to resolve allegations. The FTC's Adult Labeling Rule and the CAN-SPAM Act require commercial e-mailers of sexually-explicit material to use the phrase "SEXUALLY EXPLICIT:" in the subject line of the e-mail message and to ensure that the initially viewable area of the message does not contain graphic sexual images.

Records show that in 2005, the FTC cracked down on seven companies that illegally exposed unwitting consumers, including children, to graphic sexual content, in violation of federal laws. The settlement announced today with Cyberheat, ends the litigation in that case, and brings the total combined civil penalty amount in these cases to over $1.6 million, according to FTC reports. [NETWORK WORLD: ADULT WEBSITE FINED $413,000]

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Published on Mar-5-08


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