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BUSINESS NOTES.

COURT BLOCKS `SPAMMING': Setting an important legal precedent for the on-line realm, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that a mass-mailing company may not send unsolicited e-mail to subscribers of the Earthlink Network Inc., a Pasadena-based Internet service provider.

Judge Diane Wayne granted Earthlink's request for a preliminary injunction against Philadelphia-based Cyber Promotions Inc., a Philadelphia firm known for ``spamming'' - or flooding - Net users with electronic junk mail and advertisements. In her ruling, Wayne found that Cyber Promotions ``trespassed'' on Earthlink's computer system, which hurt the provider's general operations.

Earthlink filed the suit last month, and a ruling on its request for $3 million in financial damages remains pending.

In related news, Cyber Promotions reached an out-of-court settlement Tuesday with Columbus, Ohio-based CompuServe Inc., the world's second-largest on-line service. The agreement prevents Cyber Promotions from spamming CompuServe subscribers. Cyber Promotions will also pay the service's legal fees, said a spokeswoman for the on-line service.

?13- Daily News

POSTAL BOARD APPROVES NEW FEES: People renting post offices boxes, sending certified mail or buying postal insurance will find new services and changed rates starting June 8.

The Postal Service's board of governors approved the changes Tuesday. It also decided to set up a system to provide confirmation of delivery for several types of mail.

Delivery confirmation will be launched this fall in 10 metropolitan areas and is expected to expand across the country next year. It will provide records of the delivery of Priority Mail, parcels, international shipments, certified and registered mail, as well as the current Express Mail.

And the cost of renting a business post office box in Los Angeles will rise from $310 to $372 a year.

?13- Associated Press

UNILEVER DUMPS CHEMICALS: The consumer products giant Unilever wants to do what it does best - sell soap and food. So it's getting rid of its chemical business, selling it to Imperial Chemical Industries PLC for $8 billion.

The deal, announced Wednesday, is one of the biggest in British corporate history and gives London-based ICI a new direction nearly four years after it got out of drug making.

ICI now can shift its focus from bulk chemicals, where companies are often ravaged by the ups and downs of the business cycle, toward products less volatile in price swings, such as food flavorings and adhesive products.

?13- Associated Press

CLINTON TOUTS FREE TRADE: In a direct challenge to foes ``who would throw up walls of protection,'' President Clinton strongly defended NAFTA and urged the dismantling of trade barriers throughout Latin America.

Addressing a cross-section of Mexican society at the cavernous National Auditorium, Clinton and Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo said Wednesday the North American Free Trade Agreement was a boon to both economies.

``We must accelerate the pace of these efforts, to reach more people and more communities,'' Clinton declared. ``We must include more nations in our partnership, so that we can achieve our goal of a Free Trade Area of the Americas.''

?13- Associated Press

TOBACCO TALKS STALLED BY LIABILITY: Cigarette makers indicated some ``flexibility'' Wednesday on a hard-line proposal to settle the tobacco wars, but state attorneys temporarily halted the negotiations for a week to regroup.

The sticking point remained a set of industry conditions that critics say would severely curtail, if not eliminate, sick smokers' chances of winning damages.

``So far we are nowhere near agreement'' on protection from lawsuits, said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. ``We are breaking the formal talks with some movement, but not enough to applaud or celebrate. . . . I still wouldn't rate the chances of a settlement higher than 50-50.''

Formal talks were to resume next week. But several attorneys scheduled a conference call to work through the liability issues today.
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 8, 1997
Words:618
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