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United Parcel Service of America is tackling computer spam with a federal suit that seeks more than $1 million in damages from unnamed spammers. Accusing spammers of using UPS’ domain name and its employee and customer lists to market sexual products, lawyers for UPS have secured from U.S. District Judge Jack T. Camp an emergency order. It has allowed them to subpoena computer data from Internet servers to track down and identify the offenders. UPS v. John Does One-Ten, No. 103CV1639 (N.D. Ga. June 13, 2003). Alston & Bird attorneys Richard R. Hays, David J. Stewart, Andrew J. Wilson and Matthew J. Urbanawiz represent UPS. In June, the Atlanta-based parcel delivery service sued individuals identified only as John Does 1-10, seeking an injunction that would bar them from transmitting e-mail messages that either purport to originate from UPS or use its trademark. According to the suit, the spammers began sending thousands of unsolicited advertisements to UPS customers in March. The e-mails contained headers that made them appear to have originated from UPS or its employees, the suit claims. The e-mails prompted hundreds of customer complaints “under the mistaken belief that the employees were responsible for sending spam e-mails,” according to the suit. UPS spokesman Norman Black said the company decided to sue because the problem of spam “is threatening to get out of control” and because spammers are “illegally and improperly using our computers.” In addition, by masquerading as UPS employees in a process known as “spoofing,” Black said, “They are using our good name and the good name of our employees to promote products that are repugnant to our customers.” Black said that UPS has issued 20-25 subpoenas to Internet list servers. Camp issued an emergency order in mid-June allowing UPS limited, expedited discovery to identify and locate computer logs to track down the spammers. In seeking the order, UPS attorneys noted that “time is of the essence” because information needed to identify and locate the spammers typically is maintained by Internet service providers for only a few days. Internet Web pages advertised by the spammers “are typically only active for a few hours or days.” The suit accuses the spammers of violating federal and state racketeering laws, federal trademark infringement laws and Georgia’s Computer Systems Act. The suit seeks actual, punitive and treble damages as well as disgorgement of any profits the spammers may have earned through the UPS e-mails.

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