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President signs anti-spam legislation

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Washington, D.C.--As expected, President Bush signed the CAN SPAM Act of 2003 into law on Tuesday.

Three major industry trade groups--the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Direct Marketing Association (The DMA)--applauded the president for signing the bill.

"A national anti-spam law that imposes criminal penalties is an important victory in the battle against spam because it creates a national standard for legitimate e-mail communications," said ANA President-CEO Bob Liodice. "It supercedes a patchwork of state laws while distinguishing legitimate commercial e-mail from unlawful spam. More importantly, it imposes tough criminal penalties, including jail time, on spammers."

However, the three trade groups reiterated their opposition to a provision in the law that could allow for the creation of a "Do Not E-mail" registry or create labeling requirements. They said such approaches would "do nothing to stem the tide of spam caused by fringe operators who for the most part already break existing laws, yet will impede the use of legitimate e-mail communications by honest, law-abiding companies--especially hurting those with lesser known brands, while also impacting household brands."

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, who helped draft the anti-spam legislation, said, "This vitally important law is welcomed by all Internet users, and I am proud to have played a role in this historic accomplishment."

--Carol Krol

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