Trade Group Wants Newspapers Exempt From National DNC

U.S. newspapers should be exempt from the proposed national do-not-call list, the Newspaper Association of America said yesterday in comments filed with the Federal Trade Commission.

Due to their “unique business and social responsibility,” newspapers already have a compelling interest in avoiding abusive telemarketing practices, said John Sturm, association president and CEO. Existing FTC telemarketing regulations give consumers enough opportunity to opt-out of receiving telephone solicitations from newspapers, he said.

In addition, a national DNC list would unduly burden newspapers located near state borders that draw readers from two states, Sturm said. Because the FTC cannot regulate calls made by businesses to consumers within their own state, newspapers that draw readership from inside state borders would have an advantage.

Newspapers generate 60 percent of their new subscription sales revenue through telemarketing, Sturm said. The FTC's proposed restrictions on telemarketing would hurt the industry without giving consumers more privacy protection than they already have, he said.

In his comments, Sturm also asked the FTC to re-examine its position on predictive dialers. In its proposed changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the FTC said it interpreted the rule's current language to mean that abandoned calls caused by the use of predictive dialers were already illegal, a position not currently enforced by the FTC.

Yesterday was the final day for the submission of public comments to the FTC about the proposed national DNC list.

The FTC received approximately 41,000 comments from the public.

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