The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP) launched a new service to help businesses whose domain names have been highjacked by spammers. ISIPP helps them evaluate and take charge of suing spoofers for trademark infringement.

Spoofing is the practice of forging an e-mail header so that it appears that the e-mail comes from somewhere other than the actual source. It’s a tactic used by spammers to get past black lists and fool recipients into opening unsolicited commercial e-mails.

Phishers also spoof domain names, as well as URLs and legitimate Web sites, to trick people into divulging passwords, credit card numbers and other personal information.

Individuals and businesses don’t have the right to sue spammers under the CAN-SPAM Act, the national law that became effective January 1, 2004, said Anne Mitchell, president and CEO of the Institute. “Trademark law gives these individual businesses that right of action and can provide immediate restraining orders and freezing of assets.”

ISIPP maintains the Spam Law Enforcement Database and the ISIPP E-mail Accreditation Database, sponsors conferences on e-mail and consults with government and businesses on public policy and strategies to fight spam.

Spoofing can cause worlds of woe for the businesses whose domain names are used. Their own mail servers may be overloaded with bounced spam; they may be listed on other companies’ and ISPs’ block lists, so that legitimate e-mail from the company is rejected; and it can anger customers who think the company spammed them.

More here.