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MySpace.com has sued self-proclaimed spam king Scott Richter for allegedly using compromised user accounts to send millions unsolicited ads touting ringtones, polo shirts among other things.

We were surprised - nay shocked - when we heard the identity of the defendant. We've heard neither hide nor hair from Mr. Richter since August, 2005, when he agreed to pay Microsoft $7m to settle an antispam lawsuit.

Richter - regarded at the time as one of the top three purveyors of junk mail - was even able to get his marketing outfit, known as OptInRealBig.com, removed from the Register of Known Spam Operators after promising to uphold the most ethical of emailing practices.

In the Microsoft case, Richter stood accused of using a network of 500 compromised computers to clog the inboxes of millions of Hotmail users with artery-clogging messages. He ultimately mended his ways after his legal trouble, which also included a suit by Eliot Spitzer, then-attorney general of New York, pushed him to the brink of bankruptcy.

According to MySpace, Richter and his associates gained access to user accounts, either by employing phishing techniques or by acquiring the list from phishers. MySpace is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a permanent injunction forbidding Richter and any companies associated with him from entering the MySpace site.

We were unable to locate Mr. Richter for comment.

MySpace has grown increasingly vigilant over the past couple of years in policing its site. It has obtained at least two settlements against people who used MySpace as part of a spam campaign. It has also sued The Globe for spamming MySpace users.

But the social networking site has been accused of its own misdeeds, most recently last week a suit filed on behalf of four US families alleged MySpace didn't act quickly enough in protecting underage users from adult predators. ®

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