The fax have it Featured

6:13am EDT April 30, 2002
If you're like us at SBN, your fax machine pumps out enough advertisements each day to drive you batty and fill your garbage cans. But despite most recipients' disdain for those instant marketing materials, there's not much you can do about it.

For now, at least, the courts have said fax advertisements are here to stay. A U.S. District Court in Missouri in March ruled that a federal statute that bars faxing of unsolicited advertisements is unconstitutional on grounds that it violates the First Amendment.

The ruling arose from a case filed in Missouri against Fax.com and American Blast Fax (since gone out of business). Missouri State Attorney General Jeremiah Nixon asserted in his suit that unsolicited fax advertising violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. But U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh ruled it did not, saying there were other less restrictive methods of dealing with unsolicited marketing that were not complete bans.

That said, whether the floodgates will open further or if the matter will move on to higher courts for another ruling is unclear. One thing is certain, however. The glut of fax advertising may be mind-numbing, but as businesspeople, you probably won't want to stop the presses.

One day, those faxes might just belong to your company and promote your products or services.