This post was written by Benjamin Waltuch, Adv.

Worldwide Anti-Spam legislation is now more than six years old. However, the amount of spam that we all receive daily continues to grow despite the installation of spam blocking software. The Israeli Knesset has approved an “Opt-In” anti spam statute in its communication law which was modeled after European Union’s Directive 2002/58/EC and requires affirmative permission before a commercial message is allowed. This is much more extreme than the CAN-SPAM Act in the US, which requires that a sender must provide a method to be removed from the mailing list or an “Opt-Out” method but does not require specific affirmative permission.

The “kick” is that the Israeli Anti-Spam Law provides for a minimum liquidated civil damage amount of approximately US$250 (one thousand New Israeli Shekels) PER EMAIL without any necessity to prove that the recipient was damaged in any way by the email. The law allows for a recipient to sue the sender in small claims court and also amended the Israeli class action law to allow for a cause of action under this anti spam statute to be certified for class actions. In addition, the statute provides for criminal fines of approximately $50,000 for sending emails without consent and approximately $17,000 for emails that do not follow the procedural requirements spelled out below. Finally, the law states that the individuals who comprise the management of a company are considered liable for any violation of the law with the civil penalty of approximately $17,000. Upon violation of the law by a company, it is presumed that the members of management of that company have not fulfilled their duty to keep the law.Continue Reading Israel’s Anti-Spam Legislation with a Kick – This Could Cost You!!

In September 2008, the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Virginia’s then-enacted anti-spam laws were per se unconstitutional on the grounds that they violated the First Amendment right of freedom of speech. At the time, Virginia’s anti-spam laws prohibited the sending of unwanted, unsolicited e-mails, both commercial and non-commercial.

The Virginia Supreme Court argued that

The criminal conviction of Jeremy Jaynes—the first-ever such conviction under Virginia’s strict anti-spam law—has been vacated in a ruling in which Virginia’s highest court concluded that the law in question is unconstitutionally overbroad. Had Jaynes’ conviction stood, he could have served as much as nine years in prison.

Jaynes was convicted under the Virginia Computer Crimes Act of illegal spam for sending tens of thousands of unsolicited commercial emails to subscribers of America Online, Inc. (AOL). Jaynes allegedly falsified the header information and sender domain names before transmitting the emails in violation of the law. When investigators searched his home, they found electronic records containing the emails of some 1.3 billion users.

A resident of Raleigh, N.C., Jaynes was tried in Loudoun County, Va., where AOL had its headquarters at the time that the alleged spam was sent. He was convicted by a jury, and his conviction was upheld by a Virginia Court of Appeals.Continue Reading Va. Spam Law Ruled Unconstitutional; Spammer Conviction Overturned