"The Virginia Supreme Court today invalidated the state’s "anti-spam" law, designed to prevent the sending of masses of unwanted e-mail, by saying the law broadly violated the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, in particular anonymous speech."
The Virginia spam law makes it a misdemeanor to send unsolicited bulk e-mail by using false transmission information, such as a phony domain name or Internet protocol address. The domain name is the e-mail address. The Internet protocol is a series of numbers, separated by periods, assigned to every e-mail account. The crime becomes a felony if more than 10,000 recipients are mailed in a 24-hour period.
Justice Agee, writing the opinion, held that the only way to engage in an anonymous protected speech would be to falsify IP address or domain name information, and because such act is prohibited by the Virginia spam law, the law must be struck.
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