California Spam Law: Won't Stop Spam, Will Make It Harder To Do Business

from the why-is-this-good? dept

I get inundated with more and more spam every day, and it’s frustrating as anything. I want it to stop. However, if politicians insist on passing bad legislation in their attempts to stop spam, that’s not going to do any good. I’ve already complained about the new California legislation and it looks like I’m not alone. A guy who runs a consulting firm and writes for Business Week points out why California’s anti-spam law won’t do a thing about spam, but will make life more difficult for legitimate small businesses. He describes a situation where he did a very targeted mailing for a company. It’s probably up to your definition of spam as to whether or not you consider his mailing spam. I tend to draw the line on whether or not the mailing was “bulk” – which it sounds like his was. I believe that if the email is truly targeted and personalized about a potential business relationship, then it’s hard to call it spam. The California law disagrees. In fact, the sponsor of the bill claims that any email contact between two companies is not legitimate if it hasn’t been initiated under some other form. That’s simply ridiculous. As I’ve said before, plenty of “commercial” websites contact Techdirt every day about the possibility of partnerships or links. Under California’s anti-spam law, I could charge them with spam. I recently heard from a major technology magazine, asking if I would add them to my Quicklinks box. Should I sue them for spam? According to the law, I could. Update: In related news, is running an article trashing the anti-spam bill the Senate recently passed. The problem there, of course, is that it’s an opt-out bill: anyone can spam you once, which leads to all sorts of loopholes. However, when you compare the problems with the two bills, you have to wonder what the solution is. You don’t want to stop the ability for companies to communicate, but you don’t want to legitimize spam either in a way the provides a loophole. Again, the issue I keep coming back to is if these bills could somehow add a definition for “bulk” mail that would solve a lot of these problems.

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