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Re: Proposed EU Directive on Electronic Commerce

  • From: Nate Waddoups < >
  • Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 10:55:27 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 15 Jan 1999, Piet Beertema wrote:

>     This mean that technical solutions is not efficient, we
>     need law to make spam clearly illegal.
> Do you have a law in France that makes sending snail
> mail spam illegal? If not, then making a law against
> electronic e-mail spam may be pretty hard.

For what it's worth, we DO have a law in the USA that makes it illegal to
send unsolicited commercial fax messages.  It's my understanding that this
law has withstood 'infringement of free speech' challenges because of the
waste of the receiver's resources.  It's not about what you say, it's
about how you say it, which is a crucial (and IMO sufficent) distinction.

In the US, the anti-spam legislation that I think is most promising is
based on the extension of the junk-fax law to encompass email as well as

How many EC countries have anti-junk-fax laws?

> I also want to make a
> clear distinction between unwanted ("real") UCE and
> what I would describe as "wanted UCE". Because under
> a very strict legal regime even UCE messages sent to
> a list of existing customers could count as real UCE.

That's a solvable problem.  Take the U out of UCE and it becomes legal CE. 
Solicited CE.  The anti-junk-fax law I mentioned includes a clause that
exempts faxed advertisements to recipients with who the sender has a
'pre-existing business relationship.' If I'm already your customer, you
are free to send me commercial messages.  

If I don't want them, I have to ask you to stop.  If you don't stop, then
harassment laws take over.  But that's a tangential thing.

Assume just 4 million businesses on the Internet today...
If 1% of them sent you one piece of junk email per year,
you'd still have to wade through over 100 messages per day.

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