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AOL has won $7m in damages after it claimed its punters had been bombarded with porn spam.

The giant Internet company used the court ruling to warn spammers that it will use the full force of the law to hit at anyone who targets its punters with unsolicited email.

AOL brought the case against CN Productions in the late 1990s, alleging it had sent unwanted emails advertising adult Web sites. In 1999, AOL won an injunction barring CN Productions from spamming its users.

Last year AOL went back to court claiming CN Productions had "violated" the court's injunction by continuing to send more than a billion unwanted porn emails.

In its complaint AOL also alleged that CN Productions had accounted for a quarter of all junk email complaints about adult Web sites and had generated as much as $8m in "illegal gains".

The US District Court of the Eastern District in Virginia agreed and awarded AOL statutory damages totalling almost $7m.

In a statement Randall Boe, executive VP and General Counsel of AOL, said: "This is an important legal victory in the fight against spam and it sends a clear, distinct message to spammers: AOL is prepared to use all of the legal and technological tools available to shut down spammers who inundate the mailboxes of AOL members with unwanted and often offensive junk e-mail." ®

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