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Californian ISP sues Bob Vila site for spam

Home improvement guru falls foul of CAN-SPAM act

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Californian ISP Hypertouch is taking home improvement website BobVila.com and its marketing agency to court for alleged violations of America's CAN-SPAM Act.

This is the first legal action under the new federal anti-spam law, although several US ISPs have taken alleged spammers to court under different laws in recent months.

Boston-based BVWebTies, BobVila.com, and its marketing firm, BlueStream Media of Sacramento, California, are both named as defendants in the suit.

Hypertouch alleges the defendants violated the Federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 by sending Hypertouch and its customers unwanted and unsolicited email advertisements for Bob Vila's 'Home Again Newsletter'.

These junk messages were sent with fraudulent email headers and without a valid physical address, the suit claims. Spamvertised messages were allegedly sent to randomly generated and harvested addresses, even to addresses that had been submitted through the "opted-out" links of other spam messages.

Hypertouch has begun the action even though it has serious doubts about the effectiveness of the US's junk busting laws.

Joe Wagner, president of Hypertouch, told El Reg: "We think the CAN-SPAM Act is an open license to spam with very little protection for the public, but are attempting to use what few protections are available to punish some unrepentant spammers."

Attorney John Fallat commented: "We want to send a strong message to other would-be spammers, and the companies that hire them."

Anyone who has information about the marketing and/or business practices of BobVila.com or BlueStream Media is invited to contact attorney John Fallat at 415-457-3773 or email him at jfallat@fallat.com.

A spokesman for BlueStream Media has denied any malpractice on its part. BVWebTies is yet to comment publicly. ®

Bootnote

This is not the first time home improvement guru Bob Vila - the near-legendary former presenter of This Old House with Norm Abraham, has found himself in hot water over advertising. He left the show in 1989, allegedly as a result of a conflict of interests between the show's public service remit and his involvement with Sears.

Related stories

CAN-SPAM means we can spam
Spammers not deterred by Can Spam Act
AOL and Earthlink chase spammers through the courts
Earthlink brings down the Buffalo Spammer
Feds seek input on spammer sentencing

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Critique of CAN-SPAM by anti-spam organisation Spamhaus

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