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Hypertouch Sues in Nation's First CAN-SPAM Case

FOSTER CITY, Calif. -- The operator of home improvement guru Bob Vila's website today became the nation's first target of the new federal anti-spam law, according to attorney John L. Fallat.

Fallat filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Foster City-based Internet Service Provider Hypertouch, Inc., alleging Sacramento-based BlueStream Media and Boston-based BVWebTies LLC, owner of, violated the Federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 by sending Hypertouch and its customers unwanted and unsolicited electronic mail advertisements for Bob Vila's "Home Again Newsletter."

"The CAN-SPAM Act provides only the most minimal protections to the public," says Hypertouch President and Founder Joe Wagner. "But and BlueStream Media failed to observe even those." The suit alleges that the defendants sent spam email advertisements with fraudulent headers and no legally required physical address. They also sent email to randomly generated and harvested addresses, even to addresses that had been submitted to the "opted-out" links of other spam.

"Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) advise their customers to never reply to a spam in an attempt to 'opt-out' because that will only confirm for the spammer that an email address is 'live,'" said Wagner. " and BlueStream Media's actions graphically show how harmful the CAN-SPAM Act is by requiring recipients to reply to the spam they receive."

"While ultimately we feel that the CAN-SPAM is an open license to spam with very little protection for the public, we will zealously use what few protections are available to punish unrepentant spammers," said Fallat. "We want to send a strong message to other would-be spammers, and the companies that hire them."

" even refused to assure Hypertouch that they would never use BlueStream Media in the future," Wagner added. "I cannot understand why any legitimate business would run the tremendous legal and public relations risk in harassing millions of people with spam."

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