10 August 2005 Software giant Microsoft is claiming a significant victory in the fight against spam, having forced a major offender to stop sending the unwanted emails.
Microsoft has settled a lawsuit with Scott Richter – dubbed the ‘King of Spam’ – which has seen Richter pay the software company $7 million, and agree to stop spamming email users.
Richter has agreed to the settlement fees, on the condition that the bankruptcy charges his affiliated businesses filed in March 2005 are dismissed.
The result was a victory for businesses and consumers who have seen their inboxes flooded by a tide of unwanted email, said Brad Smith, senior vice president and chief counsel for Microsoft.
“The goal remains for us to separate spammers from their money. This is simply not going to be a profitable activity for people who engage in it.”
Microsoft and the State of New York sued Richter in 2003 on the grounds that his company, OptInRealBig.com, had violated state and federal law by sending unsolicited email.
Two years later, OptinRealBig.com filed for bankruptcy, citing “crippling legal expenses from its case against Microsoft” as its primary reason for insolvency.
After covering its legal expenses, Microsoft will invest the remaining amount in combating the spread of unsolicited email.
“We will dedicate $5 million towards increasing our Internet enforcement efforts and expand technical, and investigate support to help law enforcement address computer-related crimes,” said Smith.
Richter said in a separate statement that his company had changed its email practices to comply with US anti-spam regulations. He has pledged not to send unsolicited email to anyone who has not specifically agreed to receive it.