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ISIPP provides explanation and analysis of major aspects of new law

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - November 24, 2003 - The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy ("ISIPP") today praised the United States Congress for its efforts in getting passed a new landmark Federal anti-spam law, expected to go to President Bush for signing later this week.

"We all knew that a Federal law was inevitable, next session if not this", explained Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., President of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP), a California think tank and industry analysis organization focusing on the Internet and issues related to spam. "That this bill was able to get through both the Senate and the House in the timeframe which it did evidences a high level of bipartisan cooperation and a keen focus on the issues and concerns of an Internet industry and population mired in spam." Added Mitchell "And of course it didn't hurt that the recently passed California anti-spam law was nipping at their heels."

The new California anti-spam law, scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2004, and one of the toughest in the nation, according to Mitchell, will now be superceded by the new Federal law. Dubbed the "CAN SPAM" act, the new Federal law preempts all existing state anti-spam laws, and attempts to bring one unified legal scheme to the newly developing area of Internet and spam law.

An analysis of the primary aspects of the new law provided by ISIPP reveals that, among other things, the new Federal law:

1. Makes it illegal to misappropriate the computer resources of another for the purpose of sending email.

2 Makes illegal the use of any false or misleading information in an email header, such as the information contained in the "from" or "subject" fields.

3. Requires that a working mechanism for the recipient to unsubscribe from the mailing be present in every email, that any unsubscribe request be honored, and that the unsubscribing recipient may not be resubscribed or moved to another mailing list without the recipient's express permission.

4. Makes illegal the enabling of spam by the knowing provision of goods or services that facilitate the illegal activity.

5. Provides that a vendor of products or services who knowingly uses the services of a spammer to have their goods advertised in spam is liable under the law as if they themselves had pressed "send" and injected the spam into the Internet stream.

6. Generally preempts state anti-spam laws and places the responsibility to enforce with the Federal Trade Commission, but vests in state agencies and state attorney generals the ability to sue in Federal court on behalf of the state's citizens.

7. Provides that Internet access service providers may sue, on their own behalf, in Federal court.

8. Provides for statutory damages to be awarded to prevailing aggrieved parties.

9. Provides for attorneys fees to be granted to prevailing aggrieved parties.

10. Expressly states that the law does not impact an ISP's ability to determine and enforce its own policies for transmission of email.

"This new law, while perhaps lacking certain key elements for which we had hoped, still has a lot of teeth in it", said Mitchell, also a Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School. "In the right hands it can take a big bite out of the burgeoning spam problem".

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