The Supreme Court on Monday said it is refusing to consider reinstating the Commonwealth of Virginia’s junk e-mail law.

The court’s inaction upholds an earlier ruling of the Virginia Supreme Court that Virginia’s Computer Crimes Act violates First Amendment rights. The broad law prohibits the anonymous transmission of all unsolicited bulk e-mails, including those containing political, religious, or other speech protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Virginia State Attorney General Bill Mims, according to other reports, is planning to draft a new antispam law in the next General Assembly session to address constitutional concerns.

The spammers win again… for the time being.

  1. ECA says:

    key word is anonymous..
    And I would believe that MOST of those folks dont know much about computers, and have their GRAND KIDS fix them if they have one.

  2. Saw this coming says:

    They know about LAW and the CONSTITUTION which prohibits prohibiting free speech which is also known as “spam”. Hahahaha, eat it! Email is like a mailbox at the home or business, they have to deliver it or they are not doing their job.

  3. Anomalous says:

    That’s not the current Supreme Court lineup…Hello! Wake up!

    [I know… I was in a hurry. – ed.]

  4. MikeN says:

    So now you guys are against anonymity on the Internet? I knew people would change their tune with Obama in charge, but I didn’t think it would be this bad.

  5. StoopidFlanders says:

    As much as I dislike spam, I would totally prefer it to further/continuing government involvement in my email. Let me alone to take care of my own problems; I have numerous technical solutions for dealing with unwanted electronic solicitations.

    That guy mentioned in the article, who went to jail, was selling fake goods and services. Isn’t that a crime in itself, and aren’t there already laws against that behaviour? Obviously. Leave my computer out of it.

  6. BeVar says:

    I can’t believe some of these comments….
    We are all better off if the government stays out of the Internet business, no matter what.

  7. GregA says:

    Heh, just put on your website that you only accept email from [insert your email whitelist here] and its problem solved. The age of every penny anty ISP offering their own email is long over.

  8. bill says:

    Uhhh, what is their e-mail address ????

    Do any of you know?
    I think we should send them some SPAM…

    Harmless, clean SPAM but SPAM nevertheless…

    And why am I getting all these phone calls when I’m supposably on some DoNotCall list? …. BOGUS…

  9. ECA says:

    and they dont have to pay as much as they did for SNAIL MAIL..

    Ok, and your point?? they are STILL so old they couldnt find the ON’ button on a MP3 player.

    NOT really, I believe corps/companies SHOULD NOT have anon. Just as in the MAIL, they arent anon.

    TRUE. but wouldnt it be nice to be able to BLOCK it if you didnt want it?? You can call the company send you Snail MAIL and request to NOT get there adverts.

    yep..thats how it works..

  10. Jägermeister says:

    Someone will have to serve these fine folks a can of whoopass. It goes well with spam.

  11. Jim says:

    You people are idiots. The constitution and our rights should ALWAYS trump laws like this.

    Do you REALLY think dealing with spam is such a horrible thing that you’d rather the government stop all correspondence that it doesn’t like?

    Huh, maybe you should live in the UK then.

  12. Must be some web savvy way to GET NO SPAM! w/out messing with the First Amendment. The 1st Amendment is first for a good reason.


    “My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives” Hedley Lamarr> Brooks

  13. Grandpa says:

    I find it interesting the government is in to everything we do on the Internet EXCEPT SPAM, the thing that irritates us the most.

    …….I wonder if spammers contribute to political parties.

  14. doug says:

    anonymous speech is protected by the First Amendment. The Framers (including those who published under names like ‘Publicus’ and ‘Federalist Farmer’), knew that. Prohibiting anonymous speech is one step away from licensing the press, and free speech includes freedom for speech you find obnoxious and annoying.

  15. ECA says:

    DEALING with spam, gives YOU’ no rights..
    and MOST of it is from OUT of the USA, which does not share our RIGHTS/WRONGS..
    And dealing with spam, keeps a lot of people BUSY including hiring people at your ISP to deal with it. THEN your system has to deal with what gets PAST the ISP..

    this is NOT speech.. It is advertising. FREE speech is THEM posting a web site, and WE finding it. If we want something, we can WEED our way threw the NEt and find it..
    Just like you going DOWN to the stores to find a NEW refrigerator. YOU SHOP. Adverts are fine, they point you to locations, and PROBABLY NOT the best price.
    BUT, we can ask the STORE not to send us ADVERTS.

  16. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    sorry #16, but #15 is right.

  17. BubbaRay says:

    “My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives”

    Just exactly right. And it’s Hedley, not Hedy. (Also correct). 🙂

    As large as their guns get, my fortress gets stronger day by day. NO SPAM! But they can try and send it all they like, per the 1st Amendment. Like someone else on this blog, I get no spam.

  18. ECA says:

    so restrictions that allow us to tell:
    Phone adverts
    Snail mail adverts
    to NOT CALL/MAIL to our address are NOT legal??
    OK, I will send my 2 tons of advertising from snail mail to your house this year..
    I will send those phone calls to YOUR HOME..Each time they call me, I will find a phone and TELL you what they say, forget caller ID, I will use a different phone EVERY TIME..

  19. hhopper says:

    Speech is free until it causes problems. You can’t yell. “FIRE!” in a crowded theater… and you shouldn’t be allowed to jam up the Internet with useless crap ads. I don’t see how stopping SPAM is a danger to free speech.

  20. Mr. Fusion says:

    #3, Anom,

    That’s not the current Supreme Court lineup

    Ya, but that is one heck of a good looking line-up.

  21. bobbo says:

    If you can’t read/understand how the courts view “spam” then think of “mass mailings.”

    Are you for/against any mass mailing at all? Eg–Vote for/against some issue?

    Solution is simple squirrel: prohibit unsolicited business (aka commercial speech) emails==just as in now done with phone calls.

  22. Mr. Fusion says:

    #17, Cap’n,

    Sorry, but #16, ECA is quite correct.

    Currently we do regulate advertising. For example, “Girls Gone Wild” videos are only advertised at night. Cosmetics may not claim untrue properties. Products may not put “New and Improved” on their packages unless it is substantially new and improved. Don’t telephone selling something, I’m on the “Do Not Call List”.

    Sending me an email suggesting I can buy my drugs from outside the country has no legal speech protection. An email suggesting a 12 y/o visit a web site to view porn is generally illegal. A penis enlarger that hasn’t been reviewed by the FDA? Buy a degree from an on-line store?

    Advertising is not and should not be considered speech. The anonymity considered by the framers dealt with political speech.

  23. Paddy-O says:

    # 20 hhopper said, “Speech is free until it causes problems. You can’t yell. “FIRE!” in a crowded theater… and you shouldn’t be allowed to jam up the Internet with useless crap ads. ”

    Actually, the “fire” exception has to do with public danger & safety, not inconvenience or “problems”. This is were you went off the rails and why you have a difficult time understanding the ruling.

  24. Alex says:

    #23, Mr Fusion, and others:

    The problems with the examples you cite is that they are illegal per se, not because they’re speech. Now it’s true that advertisements and other commercial speech are more regulated than political speech (and obscene speech isn’t protected at all), but Government prohibitions must still be tailored strictly, without vagueness.

    Any anti-spam law will run into 1st Amendment problems because the fact of the matter is we cannot concretely and solidly define “spam” as including only that speech which is illegal/reprehensible. All definitions include some speech which should be prohibited – such as anonymous political implorations.

    Now, the day that spam, by itself (and I don’t mean bot-farms, which are also per se illegal) starts clogging up the tubes, then we might start to see some legal regulation, as it’s now harming a resource.

    As it is, spam is a nuisance, not a threat. As such, I suggest you follow the advice of the libertarians and simply deal with it. Plenty of individual software solutions for it. (I can’t recall the last time I actually received a piece of spam in my inbox, although I do occasionally receive a spamous trackback on my blog.)

  25. MikeN says:

    Hopefully they care so much about free speech, they’ll also knock out the campaign finance law.

    The Obama Administration actually argued that the government could ban movies and books.

  26. ECA says:

    My HOPE is that EMAIL spam, ALL email, ISNT anonymous..
    If you send email it SHOULD have your name on it, and a LINK to contact you..such as REPLY button should BE.

    But another concern is out there..
    ADVERTS/SPAM from sites that are infected/trackers/virus/ and so forth..
    And how to you TRACK this and find who installed this STUFF on your machine..YOU CANT. You CANT decline them, but you CAN turn the feature OFF.
    The bunch of BAD people that cause problem, are making it a REAL pain for those NICE people that NEED POPUP AND ADVERTS to pay for sites. This is as bad as a LETTER BOMB in your snail mail…and it HAPPENS MORE OFTEN..

  27. Greg Allen says:

    I hate spam, too, but aren’t sales pitches free speech?

    But, I THINK a labeling law for spam might not violate the first amendment.

    Heck, we have labeling laws for all kinds of other commerce.

  28. Paddy-O says:

    # 28 Greg Allen said, “But, I THINK a labeling law for spam might not violate the first amendment. ”


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