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Junk Fax Law - Selected Portions

47 U.S.C. Section 227.  Restrictions on Use of Telephone Equipment

(a) Definitions.  As used in this section -

. . .

(2) The term ''telephone facsimile machine'' means equipment which has the capacity

(A) to transcribe text or images, or both, from paper into an electronic signal and to transmit that signal over a regular telephone line, or

(B) to transcribe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal received over a  regular telephone line onto paper.

(3) The term ''telephone solicitation'' means the initiation of  a telephone call or message for the purpose of encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services, which is transmitted to any person, but such term does not include a call or message (A) to any person with that person's prior express invitation or permission, (B) to any
person with whom the caller has an established business relationship, or (C) by a tax exempt nonprofit organization.

(4) The term ''unsolicited advertisement'' means any material  advertising the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods, or services which is transmitted to any person without that person's prior express invitation or permission.

(b) Restrictions on Use of Automated Telephone Equipment

(1) Prohibitions.  It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States -

. . .

(C) to use any telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile machine; . . . . 

(3) Private Right of Action.  A person or entity may, if otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of court of a State, bring in an appropriate court of that State -

(A) an action based on a violation of this subsection or the regulations prescribed under this subsection to enjoin such violation,

(B) an action to recover for actual monetary loss from such a violation, or to receive $500 in damages for each such violation, whichever is greater, or

(C) both such actions.

If the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this subsection or the regulations prescribed under this subsection, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount available under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.

. . .

(d) Technical and Procedural Standards.

(1) Prohibition.  It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States -

(A) to initiate any communication using a telephone facsimile machine . . . that does not comply with the technical and procedural standards prescribed under this subsection, or to use any telephone facsimile machine . . . in a manner that does not comply with such standards; or

(B) to use a computer or other electronic device to send any message via a telephone facsimile machine unless such person clearly marks, in a margin at the top or bottom of each transmitted page of the message or on the first page of the transmission, the date and time it is sent and an identification of the business, other entity, or individual sending the message and the telephone number of the sending machine or of such business, other entity, or individual.

. . .

(e) Effect on State Law

(1) State Law not Preempted.  Except for the standards prescribed under subsection (d) of this section and subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, nothing in this section or in the regulations prescribed under
this section shall preempt any State law that imposes more restrictive intrastate requirements or regulations on, or which prohibits -

(A) the use of telephone facsimile machines or other electronic devices to send unsolicited advertisements . . . .

(f) Actions by States

(1) Authority of States.  Whenever the attorney general of a State, or an official or agency designated by a State, has reason to believe that any person has engaged or is engaging in a pattern or practice of telephone calls or other transmissions to residents of that State in violation of this section or the regulations prescribed under this section, the State may bring a civil action on behalf of its residents to enjoin such calls, an action to recover for actual monetary loss or receive $500 in damages for each violation, or both such actions. If the court finds the defendant willfully or
knowingly violated such regulations, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount available under the preceding sentence.

(2) Exclusive Jurisdiction of Federal Courts.  The district courts of the United States, the United States courts of any territory, and the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all civil actions brought under this subsection. Upon proper application, such courts shall also have jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, or orders affording like relief, commanding the defendant to comply with the provisions of this section or regulations prescribed under this section, including the requirement that the defendant take such action as is necessary to remove the danger of such violation. Upon a proper showing, a permanent or temporary injunction or restraining order shall be granted without bond.

(4) Venue; Service of Process.  Any civil action brought under this subsection in a district court of the United States may be brought in the district wherein the defendant is found or is an inhabitant or transacts business or wherein the violation occurred or is occurring, and process in
such cases may be served in any district in which the defendant is an inhabitant or where the defendant may be found.

The above statute was current as of November 29, 2001.

 

This page was last modified on July 22, 2007.

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