Declan weighs in on the VA law


Declan McCullagh writes today about the VA anti-spam law being overturned by the state supreme court.

What’s notable about this law, and what made it vulnerable to First Amendment challenge, are two characteristics. The first is that it applies to the falsification of e-mail information, which could sweep in both spammers and, say, someone using a pen name or pseudonym. And we know, despite efforts under way at a United Nations agency, that the First Amendment clearly protects anonymous speech.
The second characteristic is that the law regulates both commercial and noncommercial e-mail, meaning that political speech would be covered as well. (Now, it’s not clear that commercial speech deserves to be treated as a second-class citizen, but courts have generally said it’s OK to slap more regulations on it.)

As many others have said, too, what Jaynes did is a violation of CAN SPAM, but his prosecution pre-dates the implementation of that law.

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