81 Pages of Speech Restriction

by on December 20, 2004

The Federal Trade Commission has issued regulations fleshing out the CAN-SPAM Act. Given the impotence of CAN-SPAM to reduce spam, this weighty document can be regarded as regulation without a reason. Indeed, if, like me, you don’t buy the Supreme Court’s commerial speech doctrine, this is not just regulation without a reason, this is speech regulation without a reason.

There is (or may someday be) an argument that CAN-SPAM has (or will) reduce spam, but the recent successful spam lawsuits I’ve seen have gone off on laws other than CAN-SPAM or at least CAN-SPAM plus other laws. A full study of what laws are actually used against spammers, and perhaps an attempt to measure their deterrent effect, is needed. Volunteers?

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