June 29th, 2005

House Passes Bill Easing Rules on “Junk” Faxes

Reuters

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure Tuesday easing restrictions on unsolicited, or "junk," faxes after some businesses said the rules were too expensive to follow.

Lawmakers passed by voice vote a bill that maintains an overall ban on unsolicited faxes but removes a requirement that senders must get written consent before faxing people with whom they already have an established business relationship.

The measure would also require senders to provide recipients a clear, cost-free way to opt out of receiving faxes.

It also would let the Federal Communications Commission limit the duration of an established business relationship and let the FCC exempt nonprofit groups from the rules.

The FCC initially adopted regulations requiring written consent for sending fax advertisements in 2003.

The stricter rules were set to take effect Friday but the FCC on Monday delayed implementation until 2006, in part because of potential action by Congress.

"The cost of complying with the FCC’s new rules will be enormous, and it will severely hamper legitimate fax communications between businesses and their customers and between associations and their members," said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the telecommunications subcommittee.

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