Tough day for Virginia’s anti-spam law: The state supreme court on Friday declared it "unconstitutionally overbroad" in restricting not just commercial but all types of speech in mass e-mail messages, The Associated Press reports.
The court’s decision in Jaynes v. Commonwealth of Virginia also overturns the conviction of Jeremy Jaynes who was, according to The AP, "once considered one of the world’s most prolific spammers" — fond of sending more than 10,000 e-mails within 24 hours to AOL subscribers. His 2004 felony conviction for sending unwanted mass emails was the country’s first, the wire service said.
Jaynes fought his conviction on First Amendment grounds. In its ruling Friday, the high court found that prohibiting e-mail senders from using false routing information, as the state statute does, unduly restricts anonymous speech.
Virginia’s law, Justice G. Steven Agee wrote, "is unconstitutionally overbroad on its face because it prohibits the anonymous transmission of all unsolicited bulk e-mails including those containing political, religious or other speech protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution."