Maryland Anti-Spam Law Held Unconstitutional

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A Maryland judge held this week that Maryland’s anti-spam statute is unconstitutional. His reasoning is that the law seeks to regulate business which either is conducted from or through other states, over which Maryland does not properly have jurisdiction.

Put in plain English, the logic is that because spam is sent from another state and only goes through or arrives in Maryland, the State of Maryland does not have a legal basis on which to sue an out-of-state defendant guilty of sending that spam.


At issue was the question of spam sent to Eric Menhart, the Maryland plaintiff, by First Choice Internet, based in New York. The judge basically said that Maryland may not regulate First Choice because they are not in Maryland, and the United States constitution’s commerce clause prohibits a state from regulating interstate commerce.

Now, things are not as bad as they seem, at least yet. The judge in question is sitting in a trial-level court in Maryland, which means that this ruling does not set legal precedent – not even in Maryland. In order for precedent to be set, the case has to be heard and ruled on by an appeals-level court. At that point a precedent for Maryland would be set; an appeal to a federal court would yield a federal precedent.

Menhart says that he does plan to appeal. You can be sure that the anti-spam legal industry will be watching the outcome of that appeal closely.

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You can read more about this at the Washington Post.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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