[You can see an electronic copy of SB 12 and subscribe to e-mail updates on
the bill by going to: ]

----- Original Message -----
From: "Senator Bowen" <Senator.Bowen@SEN.CA.GOV>
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 4:57 PM
Subject: SPAM Survey

April 23, 2003

Dear survey participant:

Thank you for taking my online spam survey!  I certainly appreciate hearing
your thoughts and insights, and I'll keep them in mind as I continue to work
on the spam issue.

As you may be aware, I introduced SB 12 this year, which bans unsolicited
e-mail advertising in California and allows people and businesses who
receive spam to sue the sender and advertiser for $500 per spam.

SB 12 passed the Senate Business & Professions Committee on a 5-1 vote on
March 24th and will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The California Retailers Association, California Dental Association,
California District Attorneys Association, Los Angeles County Board of
Supervisors, Congress of California Seniors, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse,
Consumer Federation, and many local chambers of commerce, individuals and
businesses strongly support SB 12.

If you're interested in having an influence on whether SB 12 passes or
fails, I'd encourage you, especially if you own or operate a business, to
send in a letter on your business letterhead stating that your business
supports SB 12.  Your letter will allow your company to be officially listed
in support of the bill, and it'll prove to legislators voting on SB 12 this
year that e-mail spam is a problem that affects real people and real
businesses.  Support letters may be addressed to:  The Honorable Debra
Bowen, California State Senate, State Capitol, Room 4040, Sacramento, CA
95814, and faxed to (916) 323-6056.   Feel free to call me at (916) 445-5953
if you have questions about how to write a support letter.

In the meantime, below is a summary of the issue and the approach I'm taking
against spam with SB 12.

The Problem:
"Spam" is what most people call the dozens - sometimes hundreds - of
unsolicited advertisements that show up in home and office e-mail inboxes
every day.  Unlike other forms of advertising, such as billboard, radio, TV,
newspaper, magazine, or even direct mail, where the advertiser pays for the
ad, e-mail spam forces each and every recipient to foot the bill by paying
for the bandwidth, computer processing capacity, hard-drive space, and
Internet access used to send the advertisement.  Companies that try to get
off of e-mail advertising lists face further productivity losses, as
employees spend time replying to spammers in an attempt to get removed from
spam lists.

Ferris Research (www.ferris.com) also released a study in January 2003,
which found spam costs U.S. corporations $8.9 billion each year.  Estimating
it takes an average of 4.4 seconds to deal with a message, the study found
spam adds up to $4 billion in lost productivity for U.S. businesses
annually, while another $3.7 billion is spent by companies having to buy
more powerful servers and more bandwidth as well as divert staff time. The
rest is attributable to companies providing help-desk support to annoyed
computer users.

According to Jupiter Research (www.jupiterresearch.com), U.S. e-mail users
received more than 140 billion pieces of spam in 2001, 261 billion in 2002,
and by the end of 2003 they'll receive more than 319 billion unsolicited
e-mail advertisements in their inboxes.  Jupiter Research estimates some 645
billion pieces of spam will be delivered annually by 2007 with the average
e-mail user receiving more than 3,900 pieces of spam every year.

SB 12:
SB 12 prevents spammers from shifting their advertising costs onto
individual e-mail users, businesses, and Internet Service Providers by
simply banning unsolicited commercial e-mail.

SB 12 is modeled on the federal "opt-in" law (Telephone Consumer Protection
Act of 1991 (TCPA),  47 U.S.C.  ' 227) that bans junk faxes and turns the
state's "opt-out" spam statute into an "opt-in" law.  Specifically, the

* Bans e-mail advertising, unless there's an existing business relationship
between the sender and recipient or the recipient has agreed to receive the
e-mail ad.
* Bans selling, or selling access to, lists of e-mail addresses to be used
for spamming.
* Prohibits any commercial e-mail ad - solicited or unsolicited - from
containing false header information, the unauthorized use of a domain name,
or a misleading subject line.
* Allows any Californian who receives spam to sue the sender and the company
who's products or services are being advertised in the spam for $500 per
* Allows a judge to triple the fine if he or she finds the spammer willfully
and knowingly violated the California ban.  (Under current California spam
law only a city attorney, district attorney, the state Attorney General, and
e-mail service providers can go after spammers in court.)
* Requires judges to impose an additional $250 per spam civil penalty, which
goes to high tech crime task forces throughout the state.
The bill does not apply to unsolicited e-mail messages from charities or
nonprofits but does apply to all unsolicited commercial advertisements for
everything from adult entertainment to mortgage refinancing to airline
tickets to get-rich-quick schemes.

You can see an electronic copy of SB 12 and subscribe to e-mail updates on
the bill by going to:

Current California Spam Law:
The bill repeals my 1998 "opt-out" spam law that simply required spammers to
place an "ADV:" or "ADV:ADLT" label and a valid return address or toll-free
number on spam so people could get themselves removed from e-mail
advertising lists (California Business & Professions Code Sections 17538.4).
That law was upheld as constitutional by a California appeals court in 2002
in Ferguson v. Friendfinder, Inc., Case No. A092653.

In September 2002, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a lawsuit
against PW Marketing, a Santa Clara County-based company, for allegedly
sending large volumes of spam to California e-mail users in violation of
California's current anti-spam law.  Attorney General Lockyer is actively
gathering complaints from Californians on spam to gather evidence for more
enforcement actions against spammers.  If you're interested in filing a
complaint go to:  

While some spammers may be hard to track down and many operate outside of
California, it's important to remember California has one of the strongest
long-arm statutes in the nation.  Our laws allow us to require any
out-of-state business to comply with our consumer protection laws if that
business has any sales transactions in California.  That means spammers
won't be off the hook simply by moving to Nevada or Florida.  And while
spammers might route their messages through servers in other countries, most
of them have operations here in the U.S. - they're asking people to send
U.S. dollars to U.S. P.O. boxes.

I'm sure everyone would agree that the best solution would be to have a
federal law banning spam, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to
happen.  We know from experience that when California acts, other states and
Congress tend to follow suit.  Since 1998 when California's first spam bill
was signed into law, 25 states have passed similar spam laws.  Congress
modeled California's laws in drafting the federal fair credit reporting
laws, which govern the lending and credit reporting industries nationally.
I'm convinced that passing SB 12 in California will be a major step toward
protecting your First Amendment right to be left alone.

Thank you again for participating in the spam survey, and I look forward
to hearing from you again.  If you have a question or need more information,
feel free to call me at (310) 318-6994 or (916) 445-5953.

Debra Bowen
Senator, 28th District
(D-Redondo Beach)