Spam Litigation Case Fact Sheet

June 17, 2003

The following is a summary of the allegations contained in the 15 antispam lawsuits filed by Microsoft Corp. on June 16 or 17, 2003, in the United States and the United Kingdom.

United States Case Summaries

Filed in Washington State, King County Superior Court:

Defendants: Email Gold Inc., Linda Jean Lightfoot, Eddie Davis and NetGold Inc., Dayton, Ohio. Case number: 03-2-27982-0 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail advertising a CD with all the tools necessary to become a high-volume spammer

  • Continued to send unsolicited e-mail after receiving a
    “cease and desist”
    letter from Microsoft

  • Offered to sell 30 million e-mail addresses and software that enabled would-be spammers to disguise their identities and the origin of unsolicited e-mail

  • Offered would-be spammers advice on how to target their e-mail campaigns to countries around the world. For example, for Switzerland, they said
    “STAY AWAY FROM THIS ONE!”
    ; for Germany, they warned
    “[It] Has passed tough anti-UCE laws)”
    ; for New Zealand,
    “Good email market here–many leads”
    ; for Sweden,
    “AVOID***AVOID***AVOID!!!!”
    ; and for the U.K.,
    “Excellent Market Here!”

  • Falsely identified msn.com and hotmail.com as the origin of their unsolicited e-mail; used those domains without permission; and used the domains aol.com, yahoo.com, as well as several domains from Switzerland and Brunei Darussalam, without permission

  • Misrepresented and obscured the point of origin of their unsolicited e-mail messages

Defendant: The E-Offer Store, Haddonfield, N.J. Case number: 03-2-27985-4 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail with deceptive subject lines that make recipients believe they had a pre-existing business or personal relationship with the sender

  • Products and services advertised included dating services, debt counseling, prizes, home business products, mortgage refinancing, credit cards, car loans, class reunion sites and prepaid legal services.

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail from freebigdealzzz.com, freebigdealzzz.net, freetreasurezzz.co and freetreasurezzz.net

Defendants: Giantlinks Inc. and the PlanetClick Holding Co., New York. Case number: 03-2-27986-2 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail with false and misleading subject lines to MSN Hotmail®
    account holders advertising various multilevel marketing schemes and a debt consolidation service

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail from the giantlinks.com domain

Defendant: Global Media Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Case number: 03-2-27979-0 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail that opened to a compilation of explicit adult photos and links to free and paid online adult Web sites

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail from the freepass.com domain

Defendants: Interweb Hosting LLC, Philip Adelberg, Interweb Hosting Inc. and IWH, Pittsburgh. Case number: 03-2-27980-3 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail from spoofed third-party domain names (hotmail.com, msn.com, aol.com, yahoo.com, ibm.com and juno.com)

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail with deceptive subject lines that make recipients believe they had a pre-existing business or personal relationship with the sender

  • Obscured the point of origin of the unsolicited e-mail

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail advertising
    “executive level”
    business opportunities, an online golf game that could be used to
    “have fun”
    and
    “make big money,”
    Internet-based skill training, and corporate promotion services

Defendant: John Doe, United States. Case number: 03-2-27987-1 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent unsolicited commercial e-mail from spoofed third-party domain names to MSN Hotmail account holders, advertising nudeitv.com, an adult Web site

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail that did not include an
    “unsubscribe”
    link or any other means to allow the recipient to request that defendant stop sending him or her the unsolicited e-mail

Defendant: RHC Direct LLC, Murray, Utah. Case number: 03-2-27983-8 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent unsolicited commercial e-mail with false and misleading subject lines to MSN Hotmail account holders

  • Advertised products and services ranging from videotapes teaching interview and job-hunting skills to contests, sweepstakes and multilevel marketing schemes

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail from dailycomnet.com

Defendant: Rockin Time Holdings Inc., Miami. Case number: 03-2-27977-3 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent a large volume of unsolicited e-mail to Hotmail accounts with ads for body enhancement products, from domains beefupyourpenis.com, max-girth.com and tremendouspenis.com

Defendant: TranzAct Media Inc., New York (registered in Delaware). Case number: 03-2-27984-6 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail with false and misleading subject lines to MSN Hotmail account holders advertising various products and services, including dating services, prizes and home loan refinancing

  • Sent messages from deal-seeker.com

Defendants: VMS Inc. and Proform4Life Inc., Port Richey, Fla. Case number: 03-2-27978-1 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent millions of unsolicited e-mail messages advertising the sale of human growth hormone from 800freetrial.com

  • Used inaccurate domain names and routing information

Defendant: XPAYS Inc., San Francisco. Case number: 03-2-27988-9 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Sent unsolicited e-mail containing explicit images

  • Used misleading subject lines and spoofed third-party domains, including hotmail.com, msn.com and other domains as the originating e-mail address

Defendants: John Does 1–20, Chardon, Ohio. Case number: 03-2-27981-1 SEA

Alleged spam activity:

  • Represented a large-scale adult spamming operation run through a hosting company and computer facilities owned by Isolate Networks, Isolnet Hosting and Daniel R. Ivans II

Filed in United States District Court, Central District of California:

Defendant: PointCom Inc. (a California corporation); Joshuathan Investments (a foreign entity using a Belize address); JOHN DOES 1-20, Canoga Park, Calif.; and Belize City, Belize. Case number: 03-4269 VBKx

Alleged spam activity:

  • Identified two distinct spam campaigns. The first campaign consisted of messages that contained the subject line
    “WINDOWS UPDATE NOTIFICATION”
    and were addressed to
    “registered member,”
    with the actual recipient’s name hidden. The body of the messages state that the e-mail is a
    “WINDOWS SECURITY WARNING!!”
    The messages state that
    “A VIRUS HAS BEEN DETECTED ON YOUR COMPUTER. IN ORDER FOR YOUR COMPUTER NOT TO CRASH YOU WILL NEED TO GO TO”
    defendants’ Web site and download defendants’ toolbar. The e-mail messages falsely informed the recipient that the toolbar
    “WILL AUTOMATICALLY UPDATE YOUR COMPUTER’S SECURITY PATCHES.”
    The e-mail message also said that if the recipient did not download defendants’ product, he or she would
    “KEEP RECEIVING THIS SECURITY ALERT EMAIL EVERY DAY.”

  • The second spam campaign falsely implied that the originating message was from Microsoft. Its subject line was
    “Microsoft Ietoolbar update.”
    The body of the message was an HTML image that makes extensive use of Microsoft’s trademarks and service marks

  • Both campaigns and the toolbar violate trademark law.

United Kingdom Case Summaries

Filed in the High Court Justice; Royal Courts of Justice, London:

Defendant: John Doe, United Kingdom

Alleged spam-related activity:

  • Issued large volume of
    “attacks”
    against Microsoft servers in an attempt to confirm the validity of more than 3 million computer-generated e-mail addresses, in effect harvesting legitimate e-mail addresses for suspected future spam distribution and/or resale

Defendant: John Doe, United Kingdom

Alleged spam-related activity:

  • Used computer-generated addresses in an attempt to harvest/confirm the validity of MSN e-mail addresses for future spam distribution and/or resale

  • Defendant spoofed the sender of the unsolicited e-mail to ensure that reply messages would be rerouted to a London-based antispam organization.