The direct mail industry and spammers around the world are cheering Congress's passage of the so-called anti-spam bill:
DMERS CONTENT WITH SPAM BILL
With the specter of California's anti-spam bill looming, e-mail marketers breathed a sigh of relief as Congress passed anti-spam legislation that will override state laws.
The bill does not ban unsolicited commercial e-mail. [DM News print edition]
Repeat: The bill does not ban unsolicited commercial e-mail.
One problem with it is that there are about 26,000,000 businesses in the US and the bill gives each and every one of them permission to send you spam. It is then up to you to tell them to stop. And the problem with that is that while legitimate businesses will stop, spammers will use your response as verification of a valid email address and you get moved to their Gold List for more spam.
Spammers also love it because it replaces stronger state laws with a much weaker federal law, and reduces their exposure to lawsuits. It also forces the law onto states that do not have any anti-spam laws.
Marketers roundly praised the bill, particularly its pre-emption of more onerous anti-spam legislation in more than 35 states. California's toughened spam law was set to take effect Jan. 1. Marketers feared an avalanche of lawsuits under the California law's provision for private lawsuits. Under the federal law, consumers cannot sue. [DM News print edition]
It was a completely bipartisan sellout:
After an all-night session, the House voted 392-5 early Nov. 22 to pass a slightly amended version of the act. The Senate then passed a slightly changed version Nov. 25 that the House is expected to OK when it returns from Thanksgiving recess Dec. 8 [it did]. The White House is expected to sign the measure into law before the end of the year. [DM News print edition]
It's another example of how a great name for a bill can entirely mask what the bill really does (viz. Financial Modernization Act , Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act, USA-PATRIOT Act).