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This story appears in the May 1999 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com. Subscribe »

Virginia lawmakers recently adopted legislation that would make it a to send spam on the . If Governor James Gilmore passes the bill (as he's promised), Virginia would become the second state in the nation with the ability to criminally prosecute Internet spammers. ( adopted a criminal statute on last year.)

The measure is even more notable, considering Virginia is home to , which services approximately 16 million of the United States' estimated 50 million Internet users.

The bill deems illegal spamming a misdemeanor, with maximum fines of $500. "Malicious" spamming-spamming costing the victim losses of more than $2,500-could be considered a felony. In addition, ISPs would be able to sue spammers for damages in the amount of $10 per , or $25,000 a day, whichever amount is greater. Spammed individuals could sue for similar amounts.

Julia Miller is a business writer specializing in sales and marketing.

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