The Free Speech Coalition (FSC) announced today that it filed suit early this morning in federal district court in Salt Lake City challenging the constitutionality and legality of that state’s anti-spam child protection registry law, which went into effect July 15.
The suit was filed on behalf of the sole plaintiff, Free Speech Coalition, by Utah attorney Jerome Mooney of the Mooney Law Firm, and lead attorneys Ira P. Rothken of the Rothken Law Firm and Gregory A. Piccionelli of Piccionelli & Sarno, with assistance from FSC attorneys Jeffrey J. Douglas and Reed Lee.
The alleged purpose of Utah’s Child Protection Registry Act is to protect minors from receiving email messages that promote products or services that cannot be lawfully sold to them and/or contain material that is harmful to minors, as defined by Utah. It purports to do this by establishing a “Do Not Email” registry containing email addresses that belong to, or can be accessed by, Utah minors, and by criminalizing the sending of prohibited email to any email address listed in the registry for more than 30 days. It also provides criminal, administrative and civil enforcement mechanisms, and requires email marketers to scrub their lists against the registry for a per-scrub fee of $0.005.
“We did what we had to do. Once again, we ride to the rescue of business and companies both inside and outside the adult entertainment industry,” FSC communications director Tom Hymes says. “Justice will prevail. Besides its patent unfairness to legitimate e-marketers, we could never support a law that actually puts children at greater risk than they would otherwise be without such a law.”
The FSC claims that, although it’s purpose is commendable, the CPR Act is also severely flawed – directly conflicting with the federal CAN-SPAM Act, which was enacted to regulate and standardize email marketing in the United States, and specifically to prevent the unworkable “balkanization” of email regulation, which CPR Act and a similar soon-to-be-enacted law in Michigan exemplify. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has studied the possibility of creating a national Do Not Email list, but found it unfeasible and concluded it would actually increase the amount of spam and further endanger children.
“This makes it possible for those with criminal intent to find out through the mechanism of the registry actual email adresses belonging to minors,” Hymes says.
The 39-page FSC complaint identifies several other problems with CPR Act. To read complaint" \n target="_new">click here.
The FSC complaint asks the court to render CPR Act void and invalid, and to order the immediate cessation of the child protection registry. The organization is asking for financial support in their efforts.