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Microsoft announced today that it has filed seven lawsuits against spammers who failed to label their junk mail as sexually explicit - in contravention of the US's CAN-SPAM law.

The unknown defendants - subject of "John Doe" suits filed yesterday in Washington State Superior Court in King County - allegedly used zombie PCs worldwide to distribute spam using "misleading subject lines", and which failed to include an "unsubscribe option and physical address".

The CAN-SPAM law requires that emails containing adult content be labeled "SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT" in both the subject line and the "initially viewable area" - the so-called "brown paper wrapper" designed to protect those of a sensitive disposition.

Anne Mitchell, president of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy, said: "Labeling requirements for spam are important, and the 'brown paper wrapper' rule is a particularly important provision. "Not only does requiring the words 'sexually explicit' in the subject line and message portion of the e-mail aid spam filters, it protects consumers from unwittingly having to view content that they may deem offensive and troubling. Internet users should have this kind of control over the materials they receive in e-mail, and online commercial marketers should be held to this standard of doing business."

Microsoft has supported more than 115 actions against spammers, including 86 lawsuits filed in the US. Bill Gates was recently revealed to be the most spammed man on earth, receiving some four million offers every day for a larger penis and a cheap Rolex to strap on it. ®

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