Editorial: Let the Lawsuits Begin

Good. Let’s have the courts decide the legality of a national no-call registry. That ought to make an even bigger mess of everything. The Direct Marketing Association and the American Teleservices Association filed separate lawsuits last week challenging the Federal Trade Commission’s actions to create a do-not-call list. Both associations are using basically the exact same argument: that the FTC is violating marketers’ First Amendment rights to free speech and ignoring the Fifth Amendment’s due process and equal protection guarantees.

One might think that a single lawsuit could have made a stronger statement here. Or maybe the two associations’ intentions are simply to bog down the legal system for as long as possible. In the end, however, it’s doubtful that either argument will hold water, but at least they can tell their members they did something.

Interesting that the DMA is being so vocal in its defense of the telemarketing industry, yet it is silent over an anti-spam ruling concerning opt-in e-mail lists. A New York judge’s decision against MonsterHut last month has the potential to affect the entire e-mail marketing world, writes Ken Magill, but the DMA has put blinders on when it comes to e-mail and spam. In its no-call lawsuit, the DMA said, “The FTC is singling out this form of advertising now, what will be next?” Looks like someone has already figured that out.

How Would You Run the USPS?

Think you know how the U.S. Postal Service should run its operations? There’s still time to send your comments to the presidential commission on postal reform. The deadline is Feb. 12. Views writer John Campanelli makes a case for why the USPS needs to simplify its rate case process, improve service and consolidate some facilities. Meanwhile, columnist Roy Schwedelson offers a more radical role for the USPS: To control and issue permanent e-mail addresses to all U.S. households and family members. This would benefit everyone, he writes, “except the spammers, pornographers and fraudulent groups that prey through e-mail.” Comments should be sent to [email protected] or to: President’s Commission on the U.S. Postal Service, 1120 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 971, Washington, DC 20005. Speak now or shut up later.

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