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Virginia Court Protects Spam as Free Speech

by Rachel Levitt

Tags: Media, new media, Virginia Supreme Court, free speech, First Amendment, spam, junk e-mail, First Amendment Center, InRich, Maud Newton,

The Virginia Supreme Court has overturned its conviction of spammer Jeremy Jaynes on the grounds that the state’s anti-spam law could potentially infringe on free speech. In 2003, Jaynes was convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison for violation of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act. After a February 2008 appeal, the court voted 4-3 to uphold the verdict, but later decided to revisit the defendant’s argument that the law violated the First Amendment. This month they concluded that the law is "unconstitutionally overbroad on its face because it prohibits the anonymous transmission of all unsolicited bulk e-mail including those containing political, religious or other speech protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.” It’s important to note, however, that this won't lead to a male-enhancement products free-for-all: The federal CAN-SPAM Act is still in place.

(Thanks, Maud Newton.)