The FCC’s Junk Fax Opt-Out Rule Overturned

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a ruling regarding faxed advertisements, saying the Federal Communications Commission had exceeded its authority. In a 2-1 opinion on March 31, 2017, the panel removed a commission rule that requires opt-out notices on solicited faxes.

Congress passed The Junk Fax Prevention Act in 2005, which restricted the use of sending faxes for advertising purposes. The FCC implemented a rule that required an additional step of adding an opt-out notice on faxed ads, not only on unsolicited faxed ads, but also on solicited ads as well.

According to The Consumerist, some advertisers did not do this, and were sued for not giving recipients the ability to stop the ads. When one of the companies asked the FCC to find that the rule didn’t apply to solicited faxes, “the Commission maintained its earlier position, but agreed to retroactively waive application of the rule through April 2015.” One of the companies impacted, appealed their petition to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, who rules the FCC went too far in its rulemaking.