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April 15, 2005



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. Tony or Tacky, our way of calling attention to the best and worst of the week. We begin with Dan Henninger who is intrigued by the case of the spammer who made lots of money peddling pornography and phony services on the Internet, and is now facing nine years in jail. Dan?

DAN HENNINGER: Well, a big tony for the jury and judge in Virginia who decided to sentence this spammer to nine years in prison. Now this sounds like a lot. Though, if anyone's had experience with spamming you get some sense of what the problem is. This guy was sending out 10 million e-mails a day, and it just overwhelms and destroys people's e-mail boxes, and something had to be done about it. So Virginia made it a felony.

Now the interesting thing about it is, how much money he was making from it. It's mind-boggling. He was grossing between 500,00 and 750,000 dollars a month -- a month! And this is for selling -- one of my favorite products that he was selling was the FedEx refund processor. Remember when you were in camp and they used to send you to the other camp for a bacon stretcher or something like that? I mean, this gives new meaning to the saying,"there's a sucker born every minute." And maybe in a perfect world what would happen is, the fleecers and the fleeced would go off in a corner and live happily ever after with each other.

PAUL GIGOT: Why only nine years? That's my question. All right, thanks, Dan.

This week the music industry launched another attack on illegal downloading, also called stealing by the industry, which filed about a thousand lawsuits in 11 countries. Kim, how do you see this one?

KIM STRASSEL: Yeah, this is a tony for the music industry for coming together to enforce what's a cornerstone of democratic societies, and that's intellectual property laws. I think there was a time a couple of years ago where it was harder to feel more sympathetic for these lawsuits because the industry was suing people for stealing music. But they also weren't giving them an opportunity to buy it legally online. But that's changed with the advent of things like i-tunes and Rhapsody. And though there really is no excuse any more for taking something that you should pay for. And that should count anywhere in the world.

And so the problem for the music industry has been that the Internet is global, and while it's been doing a good job cracking down here, the chink in its whole enforcement action is overseas theft. And so it's nice to see all these executives coming together and basically saying, you know, we're going to protect the right for artists to profit from their own creativity, and we're going to do it no matter where it happens in the world -- Germany, the United States, or Japan.

PAUL GIGOT: Spoken like a writer and ipod owner. Thanks, Kim.

And finally, Jason takes note of a new poll that shows overwhelming support in the country for an immigrant guest worker program. Jason?

JASON RILEY: Well, this is going to be a third tony.

PAUL GIGOT: We're in a nice mood today.

JASON RILEY: Yeah. For the public. There is anti-immigrant chatter all over Talk Radio, cable news shows: "Immigrants are coming to this country to steal our jobs, they're invading us." According to a new poll, the public isn't really buying it. According to the survey, 75 percent of people -- and this is a nationwide poll including Democrats and Republicans -- said that if an immigrant is in this country and they are working and they are paying taxes, and they are learning to speak English, there should be a way for this person to become a citizen. That's sort of what Bush is saying, and what he's proposing in his guest worker program. And it's nice to know that a lot of the country is with him, even if some members of his own party aren't.

PAUL GIGOT: Maybe it'll get through to Washington, that message. All right, thanks, Jason.

That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. We'll be back next week and we hope you'll join us then.