February 3, 1997 4:45 PM PST

Another setback for spam king

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Sanford Wallace, the master of spam email, today was struck down by yet another online service: this time, CompuServe.

U.S. District Judge James Graham of Ohio issued a preliminary injunction against Wallace's Cyber Promotions, prohibiting it from sending unsolicited junk email to any address maintained by CompuServe.

Asked about the CompuServe decision, Wallace said "we haven't sent any unsolicited email to CompuServe for three months, so this decision won't affect our business."

In October, the court ruled that the company could not make email headers appear as if they came from a CompuServe computer. Both provisions will be in effect until the judge makes a final decision.

AOL is seeking the same injunction against Wallace in a Pennsylvania court tomorrow.

In today's injunction, Graham also said junk spamming was not protected speech. "The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides no defense for such conduct," the 32-page ruling says.

"The judge relied on Cyber Promotions vs. AOL for this part of the ruling. But we are in the process of appealing that very decision," Wallace said today.

Along with America Online and Prodigy, CompuServe is fighting Wallace's spamming to its subscribers, saying that such mass email clogs its servers, irritates subscribers, and in some cases violates their copyrighted names.

The online services have prevailed consistently. AOL won the right to block Cyber Promotions' junk email in November, but Wallace is appealing.

In December, Wallace's Cyber Promotions agreed to stop using Prodigy's name to deliver its junk email. That settlement also included a cash payment of around $10,000.

 

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