Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New SPAM Law Considered in California

Why is it that this type of legislature starts in California? Not sure why, but it actually makes me proud to be a native California gal!

The San Francisco Chronicle reported: Bill toughening anti-spam law in works.

The article discusses the introduction of a new bill whose goal is to go beyond the Federal CAN-SPAM Act and attempt to reduce the amount of SPAM we receive in our in-boxes.
"Details are still up in the air, but the goal is to get tougher on spam, or unwanted e-mail, by prohibiting falsity and deception."
As always, there are two sides to this story. The bill's proponents and co-author Dan Balsam of DAN HATES SPAM, firmly believe that this bill will go a long way in stopping false and deceptive commercial email. They don't believe that CAN-SPAM did enough.
"Federal law has been ineffective at stopping spammers, Balsam said, in part because it prohibits individuals from suing the spammers in federal court. Instead, litigants must rely on California's current law, which does not define what's deceptive or false."

The other interesting viewpoint comes from Direct Magazine and this article, titled Not Again: Anti-Spam Bill Being Crafted in CA. I think you can get the gist of the author's (Ken Magill) viewpoint with this quote:
"Why is it that so many anti-spam activists refuse to understand that spammers are generally breaking about 142 laws every time they hit “send” already, and that a 143rd magical piece of legislation will do nothing to fix the problem that can’t already be accomplished with existing law?

It’s because they hate the Can Spam Act, that’s why. Can Spam doesn’t force marketers to get permission before they mail and it doesn’t give individuals the right to sue. You see, compulsory opt in and private lawsuits are anti-spammers’ magic cure-all for the spam problem.

The individual right to sue in e-mail-related law has already proven to do nothing but create cottage industries of zealots suing legitimate companies. Those are the only ones they can serve, after all."

So, where do we come out on this debate? As a consumer, I hate SPAM (duh!!!), but I truly do see that the SPAM filters are pretty good at determining what is and what isn't SPAM.

As a direct marketer who dabbles in email marketing, I would hate for a legitimate marketing channel to be obliterated due to prohibitive laws. In fact, I see too often that legitimate email doesn't get past the SPAM filters and that's a problem that I wish someone could solve for me.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

No comments: