November 21, 2003

Legislative Activity

Date:November 21, 2003

To:AAF Members

From:Jeff Perlman, EVP-government affairs
Clark Rector, SVP-state government affairs

Re:Anti-spam Legislation

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) has announced that House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on anti-spam legislation. Negotiators included House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member John Dingell (D-MI), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM).

According to Chairman Tauzin, the agreed upon anti-spam bill:

  1. Empowers American consumers with the right to opt-out of all unwanted and unsolicited commercial e-mail or SPAM.
  2. Provides the FTC with the authority to set up a "Do-Not-SPAM" registry based on Chairman Tauzin's work on the "Do-Not-Call" registry for unwanted and unsolicited telemarketing telephone calls.
  3. Grants the strongest available protection for parents and consumers to say "no" to the receipt of pornographic SPAM.
  4. Makes it a crime, subject to five years in prison, to send fraudulent SPAM.
  5. Allows the FTC and state attorneys general the ability to vigorously enforce the laws contained in the anti-SPAM legislation.
  6. Enforces statutory damages of $2 million for violations, tripled to $6 million for intentional violations, and unlimited damages for fraud and abuse.

The bill will also create a national standard for commercial email by preempting inconsistent state laws, including the harmful anti-spam bill recently enacted in California.

Enactment of this bill represents a substantial victory for both consumers and businesses. Our thanks go to the many AAF members who contacted their Representatives and urged them to support enacting anti-spam legislation this year.