America Online, EarthLink, Microsoft and Yahoo! have announced the combined filing of six lawsuits against hundreds of defendants under the new federal anti-spam law, the
Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM)
Act of 2003, which went into effect Jan. 1. The law provides new enforcement tools for e-mail and Internet service providers and law enforcement; it also criminalizes specific tactics spammers use to spread junk e-mail. The complaints of the four companies charge the accused defendants with sending a combined total of hundreds of millions of bulk spam e-mail messages to customers.