AOL has launched a lawsuit in the US against 14 people as part of a growing movement against spam.
AOL claims that the group sent over one billion emails that generated more than eight million complaints. The company is seeking $10m in damages and wants the court to order the spammers to cease all their commercial email activity.
The suit names Michael Levesque of Washington state, George Moore of Maryland and 12 other unnamed spammers.
By filing the case, AOL will be able to gain access to internet service provider (ISP) records and use them to track down the dozen unnamed culprits.
"Spammers take note: you can run, but you cannot hide," said Randall Boe, executive vice president and general counsel of AOL, in a statement.
"If you spam AOL, we will block you. If you evade our spam filters, we will use our members' complaints to track you down and bring you to court."
Other ISPs, including Earthlink, MSN and Yahoo, are also prosecuting alleged spammers and are actively supporting a new law to ban the practice in the US.
Under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act, spammers could be fined up to $10 per email if they refuse to stop sending unwanted messages.
Gert Veendal, director of sales for Brightmail, said: "Our clients had 53 billion spam messages last month.
"It is difficult to identify the spammers but anti-spam legislation is a good idea. However, it won't stop spam altogether; for that you need a marriage of technology and legislation."
Gartner is predicting that over half of all email will be spam by the end of the year. The anti-spam organisation Spamhaus estimates that over 90 per cent of all spam originates in the US.
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