Computer Games Magazine and the recently launched Massive Magazine may both cease publication immediately, due to an apparently costly dispute over email spam. CGM subscribers will never see the magazine’s 197th issue, which was reportedly complete and ready for mailing at the time of this news. The culprit of this demise, however, is not the inherent difficulties of competing with Ziff Davis’ Games for Windows and Future Network USA’s PC Gamer, however. The real reason for the folding of MM and CGM may be the CAN-SPAM Act.
CGM and MM are both owned by TheGlobe.com, a media conglomerate that decided to evangelize MySpace users. That included sending out unrequested messages via the social networking service, for which MySpace.com sued TheGlobe.com on June 1 of last year under the CAN-SPAM Act, as well as under a similar anti-Spam law in California. Since that time, litigation has slowly whittled down the options for TheGlobe.com, to the point where the company can apparently no longer sustain itself.
In February, a California court found TheGlobe.com guilty of violating its Lanham Act and California Business & Professions Code. The company’s recent SEC filings state that estimations of liability related to loss of the federal case would force it out of business. Though the federal case is not yet over, the California verdict has, allegedly, been taken as a bellweather for the company.
As such, TheGlobe.com filed a report with the SEC on Feb. 28 that detailed a US $5.5 million verdict in the California suit. As the federal case is seeking damages far in excess of the $50 per spam-sent that California demanded, TheGlobe.com is expecting damages to range as high as US $120 million. (Calls to TheGlobe.com were not returned by the time this post was published.)