US Supreme Court refuses to hear Fax.com appeal

Fax of life

"We do more than just fax marketing," Fax.com claims on its web site. "We have assisted several missing children organizations, law enforcement agencies and individuals with fax poster alerts."

Why is Fax.com playing the good guy card? That's obvious: the FTC recently fined the Aliso Viejo (California) company $5.4 million for sending unsolicited advertisements via fax machines, the biggest penalty ever imposed for such a violation. The FTC says that on more than 400 occasions the company, which faxes messages for clients for a fee, violated regulations which forbid companies from sending junk faxes.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it will not hear a case challenging restrictions on unsolicited faxes. Fax.com had filed a case against attorney general Jeremiah W. Nixon, who in 2000 accused Fax.com of violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, which outlaws junk-fax advertising. Fax.com argued that the law was unconstitutional, representing a government ban on First Amendment free speech, and that "commercial speakers are relying upon technological advances to advertise".

The rejection by the Supreme Court may well be the end of Fax.com. Several states and individuals have already sued Fax.com, including California, Idaho, law firm Covington & Burling and Propel Software, which is seeking <$2.2 trillion from Fax.com.

Others believe that Fax.com will survive. According to Junkfax.org, Fax.com has created several smaller companies to make it harder for people to find and sue them. In 2002, Fax.com did $20 million in revenue. ®

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