Adult Spam

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Federal regulators have launched their first legal assault on X-rated spam.

The Federal Trade Commission has shut down six companies that allegedly sent pornographic e-mails in disguise and charged users for memberships to sexually-explicit Web sites that were advertised as free.

One of the laws the defendants are accused of violating is the so-called "Can Spam" Act that requires junk e-mail to include the words "SEXUALLY EXPLICIT" in the subject line if it contains sexually-oriented material.

Spammers who violate the rule face possible imprisonment and criminal fines of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for an organization.