Monday, September 25, 2000

LETTER: MAPS Ripe for Class-Action Suit

As much as I dislike unsolicited e-mails, I dislike Paul Vixie and other self-appointed censors of my e-mail box even more.

Under the First Amendment, not only does someone have the right to speak, even commercially, but I have the right to receive that communication unfettered by some third party's idea of what e-mail is good for me, and what is not. And, not only does Vixie claim the right to decide what hoops I should have to jump through to get onto an e-mail list, but Vixie claims the right to prevent me from getting any e-mail from an ISP or other server if any lists used by that service are not done according to his wishes.

In the real world, that would mean that if a mailing house uses a list that does not fit Vixie's criteria, he could prevent everyone from receiving mailings from that mailing house, even mail that people requested.

While the only two lawsuits against MAPS so far have come from mailers put on MAPS' blacklist, I am waiting for a class-action suit from consumers who have been denied access to information that they requested or would like to have received.

I suspect a court would have much less trouble finding a violation of e-mail recipients' rights than it has finding a violation of e-mail senders' rights.

Michael D. Scott, Esq.

Perkins Coie LLP



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