updated 1/25/2005 1:46:01 PM ET 2005-01-25T18:46:01

Two members of an alleged spamming ring paid Earthlink an undisclosed amount to settle a lawsuit, agreeing also to stop sending unsolicited e-mail, the Internet service provider said.

The two, Damon DeCrescenzo and David Burstyn, were sued last year by Atlanta-based EarthLink, which claimed they were part of a multi-state spamming operation that spewed more than 250 million illegal e-mails.

DeCrescenzo had been ranked one of the world's top spammers by the SpamHaus Project, a nonprofit that monitors spam. The settlement is pending before the U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

EarthLink filed the lawsuit in February 2004 against the "Alabama Spammers," who were given that name because of their frequent use of phone lines in and around Birmingham, Ala.

The suit alleged the group used falsified names, fake addresses and non-existent corporate entities to disguise the spammers' identities.

EarthLink contended the gang used stolen credit cards to create Internet accounts, using them to send spam for herbal Viagra, drugs to enhance body parts and even offers to sell spamming software.

The war on spam by companies and states has been growing.

In all, 36 states already have anti-spam laws. Earlier this month, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said he will push a bill that would make spamming a felony as it is in states including Virginia, home to America Online.

Last month, a federal judge in Iowa awarded an Internet service provider more than $1 billion in what is believed to be the largest judgment against spammers. Robert Kramer, whose company provides e-mail service for about 5,000 eastern Iowan subscribers, had filed suit against 300 spammers for flooding his servers with 10 million spam e-mails a day in 2000.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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