MySpace wins US$230M in spam suit

U.S. judge awards what is believed to be the largest antispam payout in MySpace's "Spam King" case.

MySpace celebrated a milestone win in its antispam lawsuit after a U.S. judge on Tuesday awarded the social networking site US$230 million in damages.

Believed to be the largest antispam award, to date, the award was dished out by a federal judge in Los Angeles, United States, after the accused spammers Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines failed to appear at a court hearing, according to The Associated Press.

Nicknamed "Spam King", Wallace--alongside Rines--had allegedly launched a phishing scam in October 2006 and spammed thousands of MySpace members with junk messages and unwanted advertisements. The two accused had allegedly created their own MySpace accounts, or hijacked existing accounts after stealing the user's password through phishing scams, and sent spam messages in a bid to lure the MySpace member to their Web site.

Under the U.S. antispam bill CAN-SPAM, each unsolicited message warrants up to US$300 in damages if conducted "willfully and knowingly".

MySpace outlined in court papers that the illegal activities resulted in added bandwidth and network support costs, and complaints from hundreds of its members. The community site is owned by News Corp., following the media giant's US$580 million acquisition of Intermix Media--the former owner of MySpace--in 2005.