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Amazon.com Sues E-Mail Marketers

Amazon.com Inc. has filed federal lawsuits against 11 e-mail marketers, contending they faked their e-mail addresses to appear as if the messages were sent by Amazon.com, the company said Tuesday.

The suits, filed Monday and Tuesday in several U.S. district courts and in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Canada, seek injunctions to stop the alleged e-mail forgeries as well as millions of dollars in punitive damages.

The lawsuits are part of a broader effort by Amazon.com to stop e-mail "spoofing" of the company's name, the Seattle-based Internet retailer said in a statement. Spoofing is a practice in which outsiders send e-mail to consumers that purports to be from another company or person. Amazon.com, Internet auction site eBay and other companies have long been targets of e-mail forgers.

In a related development, the New York Attorney General's Office on Tuesday announced a settlement with one alleged e-mail forger identified by Amazon.com.

The company, E.B.A. Wholesale Corp., which does business as Cyebye.com, has agreed to not use other companies' names in its marketing efforts, unless it has permission to do so.

The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company also agreed to pay $10,000 in penalties to the state of New York and is required to keep records of all commercial e-mail messages for the next two years.

Cyebye.com also agreed to pay Amazon an unspecified amount of money.

A man who answered the phone at Cyebye refused to identify himself and said the company had no comment.

The other lawsuits name Rockin Time Holdings Inc., of Miami Beach, Fla.; Royal Responder, of Fort Collins, Colo.; Jay Unzicker of Arizona; Cyberpower Pty Ltd.; 1505820 Ontario Inc. of Ontario; Edward Davidson, of Florida; Matrix Consulting Group LLC of Wisconsin; Daniel Byron Black, of Califonia; and several unidentified defendants for sending e-mails purporting to be from Amazon.com.

Amazon.com's lawsuits follow Microsoft Corp.'s June filing of 15 lawsuits against defendants in the United States and United Kingdom. Microsoft is suing marketers who allegedly sent mass amounts of deceptive junk e-mail, called spam, but many spammers also spoof e-mail addresses to disguise themselves.

Amazon's U.S. lawsuits were filed in federal courts in Phoenix, San Francisco, Miami, New York, Seattle and Milwaukee.

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