Monday, March 30, 2009

Supreme Court Won't Revive Virginia Anti-Spam Law

John Markon writes on The Washington Post:

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to consider reinstating Virginia's tough anti-spam law, leaving in place a lower court ruling that threw out the measure as unconstitutional.

The high court's decision ends the legal odyssey of the 2003 law, one of the nation's first, which was intended to crack down on people who send masses of unwanted e-mail. The Virginia Supreme Court in September ruled that the law violated the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Robert F. McDonnell, a Republican candidate for governor who was then the Virginia attorney general, pushed to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, calling the law an innovative act that broke new ground in protecting citizens. Internet service providers have estimated that 90 percent of e-mail is spam.

But First Amendment scholars said the state court's decision was legally sound. In addition, Internet law experts said it is not likely to increase spam in Virginia because federal law also prohibits spam, spam filters screen much of it and expert spammers often are out of the country. The Supreme Court, as is its custom, did not give a reason today for declining to take the case.

More here.


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