November 10, 2003

Legislative Activity

The Honorable John Dingell
2328 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Dingell:

On behalf of the Michigan Advertising Industry Alliance (MAIA), I am writing to urge you to support the passage of anti-spam legislation this year. Specifically, please support bringing S. 877 directly to the floor of the House for consideration.

MAIA is the legislative arm of the Adcraft Club Detroit, which represents nearly 3,000 advertising professionals from all aspects of the advertising industry - advertisers, their agencies, the media and suppliers. The Adcraft Club of Detroit is a member of the American Advertising Federation. The AAF is the unifying voice for advertising, whose membership includes 130 corporations and 50,000 advertising professionals in 220 local advertising associations nationwide.

S. 877, sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Conrad Burns (R-MT), specifically targets the deceptive and misleading tactics used by abusive spammers, yet would allow consumers who wish to, to continue receiving messages from legitimate marketers.

Very importantly, S. 877 would create a single national standard for spam. It is critical that the bill pass this year. California has passed an anti-spam bill, due to go into effect on January 1, that places unreasonable and unrealistic burdens on legitimate email marketers. For example, it requires the consent of the California consumer before a company can send an e-mail marketing message. Under one interpretation of the law, a "California consumer" includes out-of-state businessmen receiving messages on their Palm Pilots while traveling in California.

The law allows a private right of action, allowing creative plaintiffs lawyers to attempt to subject even companies trying in good faith to comply to thousands upon thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees for inadvertent violations. While curtailing legitimate marketers, the law would do little to stop the abusive practices of the most egregious spammers.

Because of the inherent nature of the Internet, the California law would become the de facto national standard. I urge you to support action so that Congress, not the California legislature, takes the lead on this important business and consumer issue.

Thank you for your consideration.


Jan Daniel Starr