Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S. judge, acting on a complaint by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, ordered 11 businesses and individuals to stop sending unsolicited and unlabeled sexually explicit e-mail, commission officials said today.
The temporary restraining order by Judge Philip M. Pro in Las Vegas also froze the defendants' assets. The civil action by the FTC is the first under a rule requiring warnings on unwanted e-mail promoting online pornography, said Eileen Harrington, head of the commission's Marketing Practices Division.
Curbing unwanted e-mail solicitations, known as ``spam,'' is a key challenge for Time Warner Inc.'s America Online, Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and other Internet service providers. At America Online, the biggest U.S. Internet service, 1.2 billion messages a day on average were blocked by the company's anti-spam software in late 2004, the company said last month.
``It's an initial step in a broader process,'' said Teney Takahashi, a market analyst at researcher Radicati Group in Palo Alto, California. ``The court order does basically one thing, which is stop the e-mails,'' he said.