Convicted Spammer Claims Anti-Spam Law Is Unconstitutional

from the well,-he-would-say-that,-wouldn't-he dept

A few years ago, the state of Virginia convicted a notorious spammer under its state anti-spam laws, and sentenced him to nine years in prison. The spammer, Jeremy Jaynes has been appealing the decision ever since, without much luck. Last year, an appeals court upheld the conviction and noted that a nine year sentence didn't seem excessive. However, it appears Jaynes is now trying a totally different route to fighting the conviction: claiming that Virginia's anti-spam law is unconstitutional. The idea is that it violates first amendment free speech rights by banning even spam that's non-commercial in nature. The state, however, is responding that the law doesn't ban any kind of speech at all -- but it does ban falsifying information in order to trespass on others' systems for the sake of advertising. There may actually be a fairly fine line that's worth distinguishing here between banning the specific kind of speech and whether or not the "speaker" is falsifying information in order to get across that speech. It seems unlikely that the courts will rule against the anti-spam law, but if it does it would be interesting to see if spammers in other states follow suit.

Filed Under: constitution, jeremy jaynes, punishment, spam, spam laws, virginia


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  1. identicon
    ReallyEvilCanine, 13 Sep 2007 @ 4:46am

    Clarity

    Luckily, "> Virginia's anti-spam laws are very clear and specific:
    ยง 18.2-152.3:1. Transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail; penalty.

    A. Any person who:

    1. Uses a computer or computer network with the intent to falsify or forge electronic mail transmission information or other routing information in any manner in connection with the transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail through or into the computer network of an electronic mail service provider or its subscribers;
    ...
    B. A person is guilty of a Class 6 felony if he commits a violation of subsection A and [volume exceeds 10K attempted recipients inside 24 hrs, 100K inside 30 days or 1M inside a year OR revenue from any single transmission exceeds $1K or ALL transmissions to any single service provider generate >$50K]

    The law makes no distinction whatsoever about the content. It describes only the methods and actions which are considered illegal, on very firm meatspace legal grounds (criminal trespass, fraud, theft of services). In short, he's fucked, but does he really have anything better to do for the next nine years?

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