Virginian law is constitutional

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Aug 27, 2004

US judge rules Virginia’s anti-spam law is constitutional.

A judge in the US has ruled that Virginia’s anti-spam law is constitutional. Back in May this year VB reported that the counsel representing a man charged with spam offences had called for the case to be dismissed since, they argued, the Virginian anti-spam law violated the federal Commerce Clause and the First Amendment (see VB, May 2004, p.S1). Last month, however, Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne upheld the constitutionality of the law.

Horne ruled that the subject heading is the only part of an email that can be argued to contain any content protected by the First Amendment. He said that the law does not penalize people who wish to remain anonymous in their emails, but, "It is an enforcement mechanism to sanction abuses of private property interests through purposeful falsifications of routing information."

While the defence attorneys representing the alleged spammer Jeremy Jaynes and his co-defendants argued that the spam law violated the due process rights of their clients because the provisions of the law are "impermissibly vague", Horne found the felony provisions to be constitutional. Horne commented that the courts have struggled with how to apply the history of the Commerce Clause to the Internet, which he described as "a communication medium that knows no geographic or political boundaries". Defence attorneys argued that the spam law violated the Commerce Clause because it controlled the commerce of other states; however Horne ruled: "The statute is not content-based, vague, or offensive to interstate commerce." Jaynes and his co-defendants will stand trial in early September.

Posted on 27 August 2004 by Virus Bulletin

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