The First Amendment, Junk Faxes And Spam

from the and-we're-still-swamped-with-spam dept

Recently a Missouri Court said that federal restrictions on junk faxes were unconstitutional because they violated the First Amednment. This Gigalaw article explains why that was a poor decision and also discusses its implications for spam. There have been a number of lawsuits, with different outcomes, on the junk fax issue, and the writer fully expects one of these cases to wind up before the Supreme Court. At the same time, she writes, most current state spam laws are on the proper side of the First Amendment, but could run into trouble on some other laws dealing with interstate commerce. The basic summary is that things are messy, the courts don’t agree, and we’re likely to keep getting bombarded with spam for quite some time (and maybe unsolicited faxes as well).

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Comments on “The First Amendment, Junk Faxes And Spam”

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Cowardly Anonymous says:


Junk faxes should be against the law. It cost the unwilling recipient money in the form of paper and toner. The financial loss alone should justify the law.

Since the reversal makes completely legal to cost consumers time and money for the odd belief that corprate harrassment is a valid business model then I say turn the tables on the sender.

Get a piece of paper that says in big bold letters that you do not want to recieve faxes from this company ever again and tape it to the top of the senders junk fax and fax the sender. Once the paper starts to go through tape the top of you letter to the bottom of their junk fax. Now you have a junk fax “cylinder” that will continue to send the sender your message until they run out of paper, toner or memory. I’m sure they’ll better appreciate your stance once you waste their resources and interfere with their business. After all… they didn’t buy their fax machine in order to receive junk faxes.

littlew0lf says:

Re: Medicine

Except when said company turns around and charges you with harrassment. Besides, most of the junk fax systems I’ve dealt with have had no “receive mode” for just that purpose. However, since most of the “junk fax” calls I receive are to my voice line, which has Caller-ID and Anonymous Call Rejection (which they somehow manage to get by,) I’ve resorted to occasionally hooking up a fax machine to get the phone number from the mailer, then calling their number with my fax machine, so they can get a dose of their own medicine.

I actually had one of these folks call me back voice and suggest that I never do that again, threatening me with a harrassment suit. When I told them that they were doing the same to me, I was assured that my number was listed as a fax line and they were only calling known fax lines, (according to the phone company, the phone number I have is relatively new and has never been listed as a fax line.) I told them to take my phone number off of their list, which apparently they have complied with. Now if only I had enough money to sue them for harrassment…of course, junk faxes are illegal in all 50 states, but taking them to small claims court is difficult for me since I really don’t have the time to deal with them.

xdroop says:

Stupid Americans

Once again, Americans confuse the right to speak freely with the right to an audience. Just because someone has the right to speak freely in no way obligates anyone under any circumstances to listen to that speech.

This is the first time I’ve seen a court take that stance, though. There must be something else going on.

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