Saturday, 13 September 2008

Jeremy Jaynes gets a free pass?

It's déjà vu all over again. I see that Jeremy Jaynes has won his most recent argument in Virginia that the state's anti-spam law is unconstitutional. (Once again, thanks to Slashdot for the heads-up.)

Jaynes would have us believe that spamming is protected speech under the U.S. First Amendment. The court didn't exactly say that, but concluded that the law as written was overly-broad, because it didn't explicitly differentiate between commercial speech and any other kind of speech (e.g., political expression).

While I agree that anti-spam laws shouldn't restrict political speech, I have a couple of issues with this decision:
  1. Spam is spam, whatever the content; I'd hate this to be seen as a license for nut-jobs to fill my inbox with political rants.
  2. Doesn't the U.S. constitution already make it clear that commercial speech isn't unprotected?
As I noted back in March, it was worrying that the previous decision was split 4-to-3.

Again, I say I find it really hard to believe that the American founding fathers intended my inbox be full of spam.

1 comment:

60-Seconds said...

In case you wonder about the validity of "FREEDOM OF SPEECH" in regards to SPAM, The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled:

and we quote from the "Rowan v. U.S. Post Office" case:

Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit; we see no basis for according the printed word or pictures a different or more preferred status because they are sent by mail. The ancient concept that "a man's home is his castle" into which "not even the king may enter" has lost none of its vitality, and none of the recognized exceptions includes any right to communicate offensively with another. . . .

We therefore categorically reject the argument that a vendor has a right under the Constitution or otherwise to send unwanted material into the home of another. If this prohibition operates to impede the flow of even valid ideas, the answer is that no one has a right to press even "good" ideas on an unwilling recipient. That we are often "captives" outside the sanctuary of the home and subject to objectionable speech and other sound does not mean we must be captives everywhere. The asserted right of a mailer, we repeat, stops at the outer boundary of every person's domain.

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