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Subject: Re: Jodge orders AOL to allow junk email... (fwd)
From: woods @ ucar . edu (Greg Woods)
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 96 10:09:00 MDT
To: EALLENSMITH @ ocelot . Rutgers . EDU (E. Allen Smith)
Cc: stanr @ sunspot . tiac . net, list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM, remailer-operators @ c2 . org
In-reply-to: <no.id>; from "E. Allen Smith" at Sep 11, 96 3:57 pm

> What I was saying is that it isn't your,
> or the government's, or anyone else's business to insist on having (in
> Vinge's phrase) the "True Name" of the commercial entity corresponding
> with anyone.

Even in the USA, there are limits on the First Amendment.  One already
mentioned here is that there is a difference between allowing free
speech to a person and providing the resources for that person to get
his message out. The former is required by the First Amendment, the
latter is not.

There are other limits too where the courts have ruled that speech itself
is a crime, such as falsely shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater
is not protected speech. Neither is inciting a riot or inciting to
commit a crime, or speech as harassment.  Harassment is the issue that
might apply to spammers. Harassment implies repeated communications,
so I doubt you can stop a one-time spam by claiming harassment. However,
people who deliberately hide their origin so that you cannot ask them
to stop, and who continue sending communications when you would like
them to stop, are committing harassment and I doubt very much if that
kind of thing is protected by the First Amendment.

I am making an analogy between the laws and court rulings at they apply
to the telephone system and e-mail. The courts may or may not rule the same
way.

Lastly, I am well aware that discussions about the First Amendment
apply only to communications that both originate and are received
within the USA.

--Greg

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