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U.S. Court Blocks Anti-Telemarketing List 1087

Posted by timothy
from the 405-609-5099 dept.
DirkDaring writes "Yahoo is reporting that a U.S. court in Oklahoma has blocked the national 'do not call' list that would allow consumers to stop most unwanted telephone sales calls. With around 50 million phone numbers currently signed up this could get very messy."
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U.S. Court Blocks Anti-Telemarketing List

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  • Grrrrr..... (Score:3, Funny)

    by jpellino (202698) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:39AM (#7045191)
    Just when you thought it was safe to answer the phone...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm sure they're just doing what's in the best interest of the 3 families with phones in their state.
    • Re:Grrrrr..... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Void_of_light (469480) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:45AM (#7045300)
      What happened to for the people by the people who cares what a judge thinks. 50 million people can't be wrong. Its our phone number if we want it on a no call list it should be our right to put it there. The only time it would be over stepping a boundry would be if the FTC signed the numbers up without your permission.
    • by harley_frog (650488) <harley_frogNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:55AM (#7045527) Journal
      Just when you thought it was safe to answer the phone...

      Sounds like a opening line to a horror movie trailer: The Night of the Telemarketers.

    • by gaijin99 (143693) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:07PM (#7045708) Journal
      Dave Berry successfully irritated one of the telemarketing firms by getting his readers to call them.

      Let's slashdot the Direct Marketing Association. Their number is 1-800-969-6566. They PAY when people call their 800 number. Call them. Get ahold of a customer service rep, and ask to talk to their supervisor. Offer to sell them something (a beer can, a lawnmower, the DeCSS code, something). Every minute you talk to them they pay for it.

      They've just said that they have the right to call us, so that naturally must mean we can call them, right? With any luck they'll be slashdotted before 3pm.

      • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:44PM (#7046193) Journal
        You do realise that when you dial a 1-800 or 1-888 number, that call doesn't just magically disappear from the phone companies' billing right?

        Instead of the call showing up on YOUR bill, it shows up on THEIRS.

        Congratulations, you just gave them your phone number. Be sure to start practicing your "I'm happy with my long-distance service" speech right now.
        • by Amiga Lover (708890) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:50PM (#7046294)
          > Be sure to start practicing your "I'm happy with my long-> distance service" speech right now

          Nah. I'll stick with my tried and true plan of talking with them, getting them to talk to me as long as they can, then getting stubborn

          then sounding positive again

          then stubborn once more

          then positive

          start to ask about options

          keep them on for as long as I can, smile and joke with them, get them comfortable

          Then launch into abuse. It's fun, it keeps them talking to me more and makes their call success rate lower, AND makes them feel bad. Makes me feel good, and maybe they'll go get a REAL JOB
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:48PM (#7046252)
        well, i got through.. and said 'hello, i just wanted to call and waste your time, since you do that to me every day'

        she replied 'no problem, we'll be here till 5' ;)
      • by nek (534149) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @01:53PM (#7047136)
        I work next to a convention center and every 30 minutes I go in and head for the payphone banks. I then dial 800-969-6566 and set the phone down and move to the next one. Sometimes I set the handsets together so they end up talking to each other. Endless fun. I suggest every time a reader passes a payphone, do the same thing.
  • by Marx_Mrvelous (532372) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:40AM (#7045203) Homepage
    No matter if you agree or not, you must realize that this judge just ticked off roughly 50 million Americans. He must really, REALLY think he's making the right decision (or lives in his own little world...).
    • Or something (Score:3, Insightful)

      by siskbc (598067)
      e must really, REALLY think he's making the right decision (or lives in his own little world...).

      Or has an enormously inflated sense of self-importance and likes that sort of thing.

      • Re:Or something (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blue Stone (582566)
        We could educate him.

        With just his published home telephone number, that could amount to 50 million inquiries to see if he's interested in buying... I dunno... an old lawnmower... a stamp... an empty beer can.

        • by mudshark (19714) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:00PM (#7045605)
          A clue.

        • Re:Or something (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hentai (165906) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:40PM (#7046145) Homepage Journal
          Before someone posts his phone number, I'd just like to remind everyone: You do NOT fuck with judges. Harrassing a judge, ESPECIALLY about a legal judgement he made, will get you into some SERIOUS shit. A good portion of our legal system is designed to protect itself and its human components, especially court justices.

          Be careful.
          • by gosand (234100) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @01:22PM (#7046724)
            Before someone posts his phone number, I'd just like to remind everyone: You do NOT fuck with judges. Harrassing a judge, ESPECIALLY about a legal judgement he made, will get you into some SERIOUS shit. A good portion of our legal system is designed to protect itself and its human components, especially court justices.

            It isn't harassing, it is notifying him of some great opportunities that he might not know about. If he doesn't take my call, I will starve, as I am a single mother who is just doing this job to get by. Or some crap like that. Anyway, this judge could opt-out. In fact, he would be required to, since it is my right to call him. If I call him 5000 times, that is harassment, but if 5000 people each call him once, what is that?

          • Re:Or something (Score:5, Insightful)

            by HBergeron (71031) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @01:24PM (#7046784)
            You are mistaken - and you should realize that before you discourage everyone here from addressing grievances to their public officials.

            While it is specifically illegal to threaten a judicial official (ie. higher penalties then for threatening an average citizen) calling a judge at any available number and registering your opinion about their work is entirely legal - though judges might wish it weren't. DO NOT harass this misguided individual - and if you don't know the difference between harassment and simply making a call DON'T do anything, but don't believe that judges are somehow above the law when it comes to public suasion.
          • Re:Or something (Score:4, Insightful)

            by cens0r (655208) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @01:43PM (#7047025) Homepage
            Actually his ruling just stated that it is perfectly legal for you to call him and try to sell him stuff. It's a matter of free speech. Of course I do believe if he says he's not interested and never to call him again, you must abide by that.
        • Re:Or something (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sasenfus (710540) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:46PM (#7046233)
          Don't call the judge. Don't call his chambers. Federal judges are generally very honest, bright, and fair people who follow what they see as the law. I've read the opinion. He applied precedent to the facts as he perceived them. His opinion was that the FTC was not authorized by Congress to take this step. You may disagree, but his reading of the law was well within the boundaries of reasonable interpretation. He quite properly did NOT take into account what 50 million people thought, or whether he might get lots of annoyed calls. His job is to apply the law, and he did his job. Now: if you disagree, the very best thing to do is to tell your congressperson. They pass the laws that authorize the FTC to act; all they need to do is pass on that authorizes the FTC to institute a national Do Not Call list and it's over for the telemarketers. This decision would no longer stand in the way. DON'T call the judge and make our side look as bad as the telemarketers.
          • Re:Or something (Score:5, Insightful)

            by orthogonal (588627) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @01:02PM (#7046453) Journal
            Now: if you disagree, the very best thing to do is to tell your congressperson. They pass the laws that authorize the FTC to act;....

            What??!!

            You mean we shouldn't bother a judge who honestly applies the law -- even if he may not like the outcome --, and should instead ask our Congresspeople to get off their asses and do their jobs?

            You mean, it's not the judge's fault that Congress prefers to only pass uncontroversial laws, while leaving the hard and unpopular decisions based on those laws to judges?

            Why, you!!!

            It shocks and exasperates me to see such a sober and insightful opinon on Slashdot! Please learn to post only knee-jerk opinions and "Beowulf Cluster jokes"; you're not up to our standards here!
          • Re:Or something (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Trailer Trash (60756) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @05:24PM (#7049487) Homepage

            He quite properly did NOT take into account what 50 million people thought

            Last I looked, that is 50,000,000 phones, *not* 50M people. Big difference. Our phone here = 4 people.

            Now, given that we live in a democratic republic, and forgive me for being blunt, but the people behind 50M phones ARE THE LAW. I'm sorry, but that's likely well over half, perhaps over 2/3 of the country. If we want the fucking do not call list, give us the fucking do not call list. To hell with the DMA.


    • Yeah, 50 million households who just handed their home phone numbers to every telemarketer in America.

    • by proj_2501 (78149) <mkb@ele.uri.edu> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:43AM (#7045250) Journal
      Or the DMA has its hand in his pocket. I don't always assume that's the case, but it's always a possibility.
    • by DrEldarion (114072) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:44AM (#7045293)
      He must really, REALLY think he's making the right decision

      Translation for those uninformed about how politics really work: He must have gotten paid really, REALLY well by the telemarketers.

      -- Dr. Eldarion --
    • by Parsa (525963) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:47AM (#7045363) Homepage
      I do NOT agree with the court, but from a judicial stand point I think he's looking at the legality of one agency imposing rules that is not it's job.

      I agree with the DNC List, but the judge is probably right that it should have come out of the FCC.

      I know the government sucks when it comes to effiency but hopefully the FCC can just pick up and run with the FTC's program.

      J
      • by MyNameIsFred (543994) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:03PM (#7045659)
        ...but the judge is probably right that it should have come out of the FCC...

        The problem with this assumption is that Congress created the FCC and the FTC. Congress defines the roles of these organizations. Congress picked the FTC to create the Do Not Call List. So I don't understand your assertion that the FCC should have done it. The Justice system has no Constitutional right to overrule the Congress on which agency should perform a function.

      • FTC vs. FCC (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mahler3 (577336) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:22PM (#7045943)
        I agree with the DNC List, but the judge is probably right that it should have come out of the FCC.

        The FCC regulates the nation's communications infrastructure. The FTC regulates, in part, how trade is conducted. If overuse of the telephone network's bandwidth were the primary problem created by telemarketing, it might make more sense for the do-not-call list to be in the FCC's domain. But that isn't the problem, so it makes perfect sense to give it to the FTC.

        Regardless, as others have said, it's Congress choice, whether it makes sense or not. The only party who appears to be overstepping his authority here is the OK judge.

        Besides, as we all know, the FCC is a captive agency-- i.e., it primarily serves the interests of the industry that uses public resources (airwaves, et al.) that the agency was ostensibly created to regulate in the public interest. So, assuming that you want to actually do something in the public interest, it's best not to give the job to the FCC.

    • by RevMike (632002) <revMike AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:49PM (#7046277) Journal
      From this cnn article [cnn.com].

      The court held that it was "inappropriate" for Congress to have allowed the FTC to interpret the congressional orders on its own, saying it "raises serious constitutional questions."

      Recent US Supreme Court decisions have ruled that Do-Not-Call registries are legal, so there is no free speach issue no matter what the DMA wants to argue.

      The constitutional issue is the seperation of legislative and executive power. The congress granted the FTC the authority to make rules concerning telemarketing fraud. The court felt that this rule was outside the authority granted by congress. An executive branch agency does not have the ability to make law, but the do have the ability to make the rules used to implement a law. The court held that the FTC overreached, it tried to make law instead of rules.

      Congress now needs to make a law authorizing the FTC to implement a Do-Not-Call registry.

      It is important to our system of checks and balances that executive rule making authority not be unchecked.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:41AM (#7045219)
    The question seems to be whether U.S. congress gave the FTC the authority to create such a list. This is a popular measure with a lot of support. Would it be possible for congress to explicitly give the FTC this authority?
    • The question seems to be whether U.S. congress gave the FTC the authority to create such a list. This is a popular measure with a lot of support. Would it be possible for congress to explicitly give the FTC this authority?

      But if it's an issue of Free Speech, the congress won't have the authority to grant the FTC this authority.
      • Free Speech issue (Score:3, Informative)

        by jmichaelg (148257)
        But if it's an issue of Free Speech, the congress won't have the authority to grant the FTC this authority.

        Except the Supreme Court has already held that commercial speech doesn't have the same protection as individual speech. The question is probably going to end back up in the Supreme Court as it's not clear how much latitiude Congress has in a case like this.

        As annoying as telemarketing calls are, they do serve a function. Just because 50 million people believe that they shouldn't have to be bothered s

        • by anotherone (132088) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:05PM (#7045681)
          I agree with you, but:


          Clearly, somebody is interested otherwise the calls wouldn't keep coming.


          That's why it's an opt-in list. If you're interested, you don't sign up.

        • by Tony (765) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:16PM (#7045830) Journal
          As annoying as telemarketing calls are, they do serve a function.

          A corporate function. I'm not interested in corporate functions. If I want to talk to someone, I give them my phone number, and say, "Call me sometime. We'll do lunch."

          If this is a question of free speech, then I say we get the numbers of the telemarketers, and start calling them at all hours, just to chat.

          It's just free speech, after all.

          Just because 50 million people believe that they shouldn't have to be bothered saying "I'm not interested." doesn't necessarily mean Congress can shut the industry down.

          It's not Congress, it's the people who opt-out. Congress merely gave people the power to opt-out. How is that unfair to the industry? Hell, the industry should be glad! That's 50 Million phone calls they don't have to make because those people would have said "No" anyway.

          Also, corporations do not have any fundamental "right" to exist. Corporations are charters granted by the state. Until the late 1880s in the US, the state could excersize the right to revoke a charter if it were determined that the corporation were not acting in the best interest of the citizenry.
    • by RedTyde (707025) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:49AM (#7045401)
      They did give the FTC the autority to do this:
      Lawmakers were quick to criticize the court's decision, arguing that they had given the FTC the authority to implement the list. "We are confident this ruling will be overturned and the nearly 50 million Americans who have signed up for the do-not-call list will remain free from unwanted telemarketing calls in the privacy of their own homes," Reps. Billy Tauzin and John Dingell said in a statement.
  • The List (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StaticEngine (135635) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:42AM (#7045226) Homepage
    So do the Telemarketers now have a list of phone numbers that they know are valid? Can they use the DNC list to target their marketing for "difficult" or "hostile" numbers? Was this really just a scam all along?

    Or is their access to the DNC list numbers restricted?
    • Re:The List (Score:4, Interesting)

      by powerg3 (22943) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:57AM (#7045557) Homepage
      Telemarketers may download the list [donotcall.gov] online. So no, their access to the numbers is not restricted.

      I certainly don't think it was a scam all along, but if the law is overturned, I doubt there is anything to stop telemarketers from using this list.

    • Re:The List (Score:3, Funny)

      by Laur (673497)
      So do the Telemarketers now have a list of phone numbers that they know are valid?

      My phone company just sent me a thick book yesterday filled with pages and pages of valid residential phone numbers (and even addresses!). They're in league with the telemarketers! Revolt, revolt!

      Seriously, getting valid telephone numbers has never been that hard. It's not the same thing as spammers trying to gather valid email addresses.

  • Alternate Story (Score:3, Informative)

    by IanO (21302) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:42AM (#7045227) Homepage
    From CNN [cnn.com]
  • Easy answer (Score:5, Funny)

    by IthnkImParanoid (410494) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:42AM (#7045233)
    Call the judge to tell him how you feel, or just try to convince him to change his carrier.
    • Re:Easy answer (Score:3, Insightful)

      by floppy ears (470810)
      Hey everybody, before you start calling, remember that a Federal District Judge is not just some idiot spammer. I would expect that there are laws against harrassing judges, and even if not, the judges certainly have the power to throw you in jail for contempt just on their say so.

      In short, use a pay phone.
  • Details of the court (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:42AM (#7045238)
    Name of the judge?
    Addresses of the judge... Home, Courthouse?
    Phone numbers for the judge? Home, Courthouse, Cell?
    Docket # of the case...

    I want to file an Amicus brief, and I WANT TO CALL THIS ASSHOLE.

    After about 50 million people give him a call, he might get the message that we've told the industry to go fuck themselves for a reason...

    My anger notwithstanding, there is US Sup. Ct. precedence for upholding the list! The Supremes decided this regarding regular mail, and I fail to see why telephone calls ought to be any different...
  • by chriseaves (660227) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:42AM (#7045241)
    http://www.the-dma.org/ [the-dma.org], they seem to be quite proud of themselves
    • by chriseaves (660227) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:51AM (#7045428)
      Oh, I should point out their phone numbers: President's Office -- 212.768.7277, ext. 1604 Privacy -- 212.768.7277, ext. 2408
    • by geekotourist (80163) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:13PM (#7045785) Journal
      ...it is the very name of this web page [the-dma.org]. Let's see:
      • "The DMA is a membership organization." Interesting fact.
      • "We are here to help you." Good, because I need help right now- my blood pressure is up after reading this article.
      • "You can reach us by mail, phone, fax or e-mail at the following addresses:"
      And then follows a list of over 30 contacts [the-dma.org]. I wonder who could help... "Consumer assistance"? No, I never consume their products (although they try to force feed everyone) so that isn't me. Privacy? That probably goes to an overfilled voicemail. How about "Direct Marketing Educational Foundation"? That could work- I certainly think that Direct Marketing needs more education.
    • by NearlyHeadless (110901) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:33PM (#7046068)
      Here are some more plaintiffs that may want to know how you feel--

      (1) Infocision
      http://www.infocision.com/commercial_d ivision_page s/contact.html
      Want more information about InfoCision's teleservices outsourcing capabilities? You can contact us using one of the following methods:

      By phone
      Todd Grable, Sr. Vice President - Marketing
      330-668-1400

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      http://www.gcsagents.com/gcsweb/gcs%20we bsite2.htm
      What's the GCS advantage? We've assembled a team of Call Center industry
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      The Right Call.

      Want more information? Please contact: Benny Callahan EVP, Sales
      Phone: (704) 782-0596
      E-mail: benny.callahan@gcsagents.com

      (3) Chartered Benefit Services, Inc.
      http://www.charteredbenefit.com/
      Need more information?
      If you are a financial institution and would like information about
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      Our address is:
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      Arlington Heights, IL 60004
  • Y'know... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tadiera (315450) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:43AM (#7045248) Homepage
    I'm wondering if this judge is getting some sort of deal with a ton of telemarketer companies. "You cancel this 'Do Not Call List' and we'll take your number off of our lists."
  • Peachy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Whispers_in_the_dark (560817) * <rich DOT harkins AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:43AM (#7045254)
    So now the bozos are about to have access to 50-million recently *verified* phone numbers that were provided by the do-not-call list so that those clowns wouldn't call?

    Yippie. >:|
    • Re:Peachy... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499) *
      So now the bozos are about to have access to 50-million recently *verified* phone numbers that were provided by the do-not-call list so that those clowns wouldn't call?


      As opposed to those 200 million numbers in the phone book? A number alone isn't worth much. You need some other information to decide wether a number is worth calling with a particular pitch. With these 50 million numbers they only additional data that they have is that these people don't want to be called. If I were a telemarketer, this l
  • Free Speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphani@nospAM.dal.net> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:43AM (#7045257)
    The article claims that the arguement was that a national do-not-call list violates free speech. How can a list which is opt-in violate free speech? These telemarketers are perfectly free to say whatever they like - I just dont them to call my house to say it.
  • Idea not dead (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArthurDent (11309) <meaninglessvanity@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:43AM (#7045261) Homepage Journal
    This will get done. The court just has a problem with how the FTC did it. I bet if Congress passed a do not call list bill there would be no problem.
  • by patman600 (669121) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:43AM (#7045270)
    This is ridiculous. It's my understanding that signing up for the national do not call list was about a person's right to privacy. Free speech laws do not protect someone in the case of harassment or stalking. The do not call list seems kind of like getting a restraining order on them. I hope this decision gets overturned quickly.
  • finally! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ostrich2 (128240) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:44AM (#7045283)
    I was beginning to think people would actually get what they want in America. My faith in the system is restored!
  • by linuxrunner (225041) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:44AM (#7045285) Homepage
    Everyone stop right now, and CALL the Oklahoma Judicial branch, and tell them ALL about unsolicited phone calls, and how much you just LOVE to get them.

    Maybe after a few hours.... They might understand how we feel.

  • by phlack (613159) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:45AM (#7045308)
    is Here [marketwatch.com]

    A nice quote from that article:

    In a statement, the DMA said that while it welcomed the ruling, it "acknowledges the wishes of millions of U.S. consumers who have expressed their preferences not to receive" telemarketing solicitations.
    Gee, I guess that never occurred to them before this list was created. Now that it has occurred to them, any bets on if they'll actually respect those wishes?
    • by ichimunki (194887) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:13PM (#7045792)
      Yes, actually. This is not a simple do-not-call list, which reputable companies take pretty seriously. This is the government actively soliciting the names/numbers of people in order to prevent marketers from contacting them. Furthermore this list prevents marketers from contacting you ever, whereas the normal existing situation was that you would request that they not contact you again. Finally, this list places a burden on speech and is bound to create some difficult lawsuits, especially as to what constitutes an advertisment.

      Forcing a company to obtain this list prior to making calls is a much different situation from requiring them to keep and honor a list of numbers they have called and been asked not to call again. The crux of the matter is the notion that advertising is not fully protected speech... which is fine. Regulate away. But to blatantly allow not-for-profit organizations to solicit donations while restricting for-profits from calling? Whatever.

      I find the telepanhandlers way more annoying than the people who actually want to sell me something-- I don't see why the "speech" of charities is somehow more worthwhile than the speech of corporations. Want to guess how many more calls I'll get after this list goes into full play from groups like the Nation Foundation or the ACLU Foundation? Can't wait to see which new foundations are founded just for the purpose of making it possible for companies to do "branded" mailings and callings under the cover of a non-profit. Even without a sales pitch, anything with a corporate logo on it could very well be considered "advertising" (witness the recent Nike lawsuit).

      Of course I talk to very few telemarketers/telepanhandlers/bill-collectors anyway... I use caller ID and an answering machine to my benefit. Best of all, neither of the above can realistically be regulated into existence or arbitrarily wiped out of existence by a capricious Judiciary.
  • Judges contact info: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stonent1 (594886) <stonentNO@SPAMstonent.pointclark.net> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:45AM (#7045321) Journal
    Judge Lee R. West

    http://www.okwd.uscourts.gov/west.htm [uscourts.gov]
    You know what to do.
  • Telemarketing in OK (Score:3, Informative)

    by Isochrome (16108) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:47AM (#7045356)
    Two of the top businesses in the state are telemarketers:

    http://www.state.ok.us/osfdocs/budget/table1.pdf

    At least Walmart has more employees.
  • by boarder (41071) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:48AM (#7045379) Homepage
    The court said the FTC didn't have the power to make this law and had overstepped its bounds...

    Excuse me, but not only did Congress approve this, but 50 million Americans did, too. If 50 million Americans say a law should go through, then I'm thinking that it should go through. If 100 telemarketing companies (and their 2 paltry million employees) say it shouldn't, well, majority rules in a democracy. 25 to 1, we win.

    There are still plenty of appeals to come... this is a district court, so it can still go up to the Supreme Court if it has to. Even if the FTC can't get it done, there is more than enough support in Congress to pass their own law or do whatever they can do about it.
  • I am confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fnkmaster (89084) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:48AM (#7045380)
    I thought the FTC _was authorized_ by Congress to construct and issue the Do Not Call list. That's confirmed by several reps interviewed in the CNN article.


    I went here [ftc.gov] to the FTC site on rulemaking re: telemarketing calls, and it looks to my eye like this is authorized by existing legislation. Also, I read this on the Telemarketing Sales Rule (Amended) [ftc.gov] and how it derives from Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).


    I guess this is just a case of the court being overly cautious here, but I fail to see how this is a restraint on Free Speech, since (a) the speech we are talking about here falls into the "commercial" category (b) it is "speech" directed into people's private homes without their authorization, permission or any expectation that they want to be bothered with it. Free Speech doesn't mean the freedom to yell your speech into my ear whenever you feel like it.

  • by jpellino (202698) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:48AM (#7045391)
    "Where the phone rings freely while you dine..."
    "Where your privacy's cheap, and things that beep
    "Don't stop slammers - even on their dime...."
  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:49AM (#7045404)
    WHY is the DMA fighting this?

    Hold on, hear me out.

    If the Do-Not Call list goes into effect, then that will essentially be the Last Word on the subject. By putting yourself on it, you are declaring to the world you have no interest in Telemarketers. And, reversely, if you do NOT sign up, you are implicitly inviting them.

    Now then, two points:

    Number one, running a call center takes a LOT of money. The job is so odious that you can't pay minimum wage, you have to pay well above the standard wage for what is, otherwise, not a terribly difficult job. Plus overhead, huge phone bills, etc.

    EVERY BAD NUMBER wastes money. A lot. We've seen those things about how you can screw TMs over by leaving the phone off the hook, etc. So, first of all, this would be a boon for the industry since it would weed out everyone they know would never, ever buy something over the phone. Far less wasted money in calling "Not Interesteds."

    And, number two. Going with what I wrote at the top, you assume that any number NOT on the list is up for grabs. You then hire some market consultants and make God's own targetted marketing base. Every citizen not on that list, you start running background checks, sales figures, anything you can get at publically, and start fine-tuning your pitch to target those people specifically instead of taking the shotgun approach.

    It would take a little setting up, but the end result would be a huge leap in actual sales, and less money wasted in worthless calls.

    So, all this really just gives me even LESS pity for the DMA than I previously didn't have. Just like the RIAA, they're attempting to use the government and the court system to block a "scary" change to their business model, which would actually be a boon if they'd just open their eyes.

    Such businesses do not deserve to exist.

    • They argue that the number of sales they get, even to people who assume they don't like telemarketing, shows the value of what they offer. In other words, they say that people don't realize that they don't really mind telemarketing all that much.

      I'm not sure how I feel about that call machine they use, that puts in a delay before talking to a real person; on the one hand I'm dismayed at the increase in effeciency, on the other hand I'm greatful that I can so often sneak a hangup into there...
  • by expro (597113) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:49AM (#7045405)
    Without the authority to prevent telemarketers from calling numbers on the list, does the list become a telemarketer's call list (since they have apparently had access to it for some time)?
    • They better be careful; the list is poisoned. My state (Massachusetts) added all of the people on its DNC list to the national one. If the telemarketers blindly start calling numbers from that list, they'll get nailed by Massachusetts, at least, if any member of the state DNC list gets called.

      I suspect this is the case with many states that established DNC lists.

      This ruling has no effect on the state's own DNC lists, as far as I know.
  • by I am Kobayashi (707740) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:50AM (#7045411)
    I haven't had time to read it yet, but here it is: Order [the-dma.org]
  • Repeat after me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by silverhalide (584408) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:03PM (#7045646)
    The Direct Marketing Association sued to block the list shortly after Congress approved it in January, saying it would violate free-speech laws and discriminate against an industry that provides millions of jobs.
    All together now: Corporations are NOT PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT!
  • by 6 (22657) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:04PM (#7045675)
    Let's imagine a world where the courts throw out the FTC do not call list based on the idea that the FTC has overstepped it's authority.

    In such a world there are 50 million plus voters who all support an issue during a time of a very divided government. It's a legislator's wet dream. An easy issue with bi-partisan approval that constituents love. Just the thing to go into re-election trumpeting. Oh and cheap too. When congress gets done with it the DMA may be facing all kinds of restrictions beyond a simple do not call list.

  • by alchemist68 (550641) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:20PM (#7045908)
    Just record those three tones that indicate a telephone number is unavailable. That is the first thing my answering machine plays when playing "my message" to the caller. If I recall correctly, these tones are what telemarketers "listen" for to determine if a telephon number is valid or not. Of course, all my friends know to leave a message after grandma bell plays the tones and says "tone tone tone, the number you have reached, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah is no longer in service. Please make a note of it [repeat]".

    Works every time!
  • Don't sweat it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Teahouse (267087) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:25PM (#7045986)
    This is not a constitutional issue. The ruling will be overturned. If for some reason it manages to pass the appeals process, there is a good chance that congress will simply make it a law. The 1st Amendment protects your right to speak freely to others in public places. It protects your right to speak out against the government with the spoken or printed word. It does not empower you to threaten or harass others. It does not allow you to enter a person's private property (either on foot or over electronic line) to sell your wares. That is commerce, not speech. There are enough rulings on this to be sure that do-not-call will eventually go through.

  • by maiden_taiwan (516943) * on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:47PM (#7046250)
    10. Call everybody on it.
    9. Use it to pick lottery numbers.
    8. Send $1 to the first person on the list, then add your name to the bottom and forward it to 10 friends.
    7. Same as above, but put your name at the top of the list.
    6. Tell John Ashcroft it's a list of suspected terrorists.
    5. Create the ultimate uncrackable password: echo `cat donotcalllist`
    4. Reduce the national deficit by selling it back to the telemarketers for a pretty penny.
    3. Register every phone number as a new Internet domain (212-555-1234.com) to help thwart Verisign.
    2. Filter it through the Unix command "tr aeiou eioua" and remark how everybody's names look Swedish.
    1. Turn in the bastards to the RIAA.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:55PM (#7046355) Homepage
    The issue seems to be that Congress gave the FCC authority to set up a do-not-call list, the FCC issued rules accordingly [fcc.gov], and the FCC agreed that the FTC would actually operate the registry. The judge ruled that this was an improper delegation. The judge did not rule that it was a First Amendment issue.

    That's either going to be overturned on appeal, or the FCC and FTC will work out some organizational way to deal with it.

    Even with the judge's ruling, the do-not-call registry should still apply to businesses directly regulated by the FCC, such as telephone companies.

  • this makes sense... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by edrugtrader (442064) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @12:58PM (#7046398) Homepage
    either telemarking is legal or it isn't... clouding the issue with a "do not call" list is stupid.

    WHO WOULD NOT WANT TO BE ON THAT LIST?!

    by creating the list you kill the industry. this judge realizes that and is taking action.

    if the list is legal, then you might as well just make telemarking ILLEGAL... same effect.
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @01:06PM (#7046512) Homepage
    he'd have chucked his invention in the trash and announced voice over wire, if not impossible, something not desirable. "I had this vision - once the 'telephone', as I call it, had been installed in households everywhere, becoming an essential instrument, suddenly every quack medicine peddlar would begin abusing it. Mark Twain [twainquotes.com] was right, I should not have invented it".
  • by linuxrunner (225041) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @01:23PM (#7046752) Homepage
    Judges should be elected, and not appointed. They should go through the same process as any other official.

    I don't need some idiot in some appointed power back when Lincoln was president, making rulings that slavery is still the way to go.

    (yes, fecicious... but still you get the point)

    Same thing here.. we have old farts in the system that don't even know how to use a computer, ruling on cases such as Copyright, that affect the lives of people who DO know how to use them.

    So instead of this moron judge voting this way because the top two busineses in OK are telemarketers!!!! He should have voted the will of the people 50 million of them, and said FU to them. And he would have, if he was elected. But instead, he's there for good, and could give two craps about what the people think. // End Rant

  • Dave Barry (Score:5, Funny)

    by ddkilzer (79953) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @01:33PM (#7046904)

    So how long before Dave Barry [miami.com] publishes the Oklahoma judge's phone number? ;)

  • by computerlady (707043) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @02:30PM (#7047552) Journal

    I'm concerned about people who provided cell numbers and unlisted numbers to the list.

    Telemarketers have been able to download the list for some time now from donotcall.org. That means they not only have verified that your number is current but that they also have the potential to add to their call lists additional numbers they did not have before.

    The nice lady at the court office said attorney's from neither side had ever mentioned that issue and that the judge had not considered it. I asked whether it was not incumbent upon a responsible judge to educate himself as to all the ramifications of any ruling he might make, whether those issues were raised by the parties or not. I reminded her that up to 50 million people are unofficial and apparently unrepresented parties to the suit and I would think the judge should have given a little thought to protecting my privacy rights as he made his ruling.

    Congressman Tauzin's aide who is specifically taking calls re this ruling said 1) this issue isn't over - they are looking at legislation and/or challenges to the ruling and that they are moving quickly and 2) as far as she knows, no one at the legislative level has thought about the issue of unlisted numbers which might now be on that list in the hands of telemarketers. Oops. By the way, I started and ended that conversation by expressing appreciation to the Congressman for his efforts on our behalf.

    Charlie, who answered the consumer complaint phone for the FTC Southeast region, was a little confused at first as to what my concern was. As soon as he "got it," he asked to be excused for a moment. When he came back a good while later, he reported that as far as they could tell, the download was still available on the website and they were escalating the question up the chain to the national level as quickly as possible so that someone could address it pronto. Good on Charlie! Very sharp young man -- he deserves a promotion!!

    Don't you just love the level of foresight on the part of those working to "protect" our privacy? I mean, I truly do appreciate the effort, but they need to do their homework a little better.

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