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Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Fight Over Whether Yellow Pages Can Dump Unwanted Phonebooks on Your Porch as an Exercise of Their Free Speech Continues

Posted by on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 11:52 AM

The Seattle City Attorney's office is asking the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reconsider last month's ruling en banc—meaning, with a full panel of judges. Last month, a three-judge panel ruled that phone books are sacred doorstoppers stuffed with free speech protected by First Amendment rights, rather than the unread anchors of commercial ads nobody but your grandmother reads. Using this reasoning, the judges found our 2010 citywide phonebook opt-out program unconstitutional.

In its petition for a retrial, the city argues that “The conclusion that Yellow Pages are not commercial speech is contrary to the long-standing law of the Supreme Court, this Court and sister circuits requiring that hybrid speech be regulated as commercial speech unless the two types of speech are actually ‘inextricably intertwined.’ ”

The city’s petition will be granted if 15 of the 28 active judges of the Ninth Circuit appeals court vote in favor.

My hope is that we're not all dead by the time this case is resolved. RIP.


Comments (15) RSS

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very bad homo 1
At this point, they're just littering.
Posted by very bad homo on November 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
spaceapple 2
I'm glad they're still trying. There's a huge basket near the mailbox in my apartment overflowing with junk mail. Last time I passed it, I thought about how the phone people had won that thing, and it bummed me out.

So, yay!
Posted by spaceapple on November 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
@1 Seriously. If we can't actually create a law blocking the delivery of phonebooks, can we at least get them on Conspiracy to Commit Littering or something equally inane?
Posted by Ruke on November 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 4
What about their free speech ends with my property rights? It's been documented that the publishers ignore their private opt-out requests and via complaint, decided to address the issue for everyone in the city.

The publishers have a free speech right, but they can't force me to listen, especially on my own property. The city has a right to punish their refusal to stop when requested, both on my individual behalf and on behalf of all citizens who ask.

If this argument hasn't been made the city needs better lawyers.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on November 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
How about someone dumps a truckload of phonebooks on their doorstep to demonstrate their right to free speech?
Posted by swender on November 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
pragmatic 6
@5 I suggest scat porn magazines. That'll get the point across much more vividly.
Posted by pragmatic on November 15, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
I think they should have the right to invade my property to place their telephone books on it, provided I have the right to pour liquid sewage on to the property of all their executives homes and offices.

Posted by Will in Seattle on November 15, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
pfffter 8
We should start filing police complaints for trespassing. Seriously.
Posted by pfffter on November 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
michaelp 9
The 9th Circuit's opinion was baffling, at best. Their view that the Yellow Pages in some way don't constitute commercial speech is ridiculous, at best. The point of Yellow Pages is for people to search for folks involved in commerce.

Sure, only 35% of the YP might be paid ads, but that is a very low bar to set. I do hope that the 9th takes it up en banc, and issues a competent opinion.
Posted by michaelp on November 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM · Report this
motofly 10
The only people "trespassing" are the poor miserable bastards that are paid shit to deliver the fecking things. Idiotic ruling. Can I write a poem on an old crappy refrigerator lamenting the state of Seattle newspapers and deliver it to Frank Blethlen's house?
Posted by motofly on November 15, 2012 at 3:01 PM · Report this
Lizajane 11
I like the dumping them in truckloads onto the publishers front steps idea!
Posted by Lizajane on November 15, 2012 at 3:04 PM · Report this
Lizajane 12
Posted by Lizajane on November 15, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Lizajane 13
Or we can take them to the local locked psyche wards and have the patients,um excuse me, clients, spray them with glitter glue for their occupational therapy time. I can say this as a former 'client" of locked psyche wards in three states.
Posted by Lizajane on November 15, 2012 at 3:44 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 14
I don't get the free speech argument.

Okay, sure, they have every right to stand on a public street corner and give out there phone books to anyone willing to take one. But where in the First Amendment is it written that they can come onto my private property and dump crap that I have explicitly stated I don't want?
Posted by Reverse Polarity on November 15, 2012 at 7:29 PM · Report this
watchout5 15
Would it be free speech if I bought several rolls of paper, filled them with advertisements and left them on the doorstep of THEIR home? No, that would be solicitation. Fuck solicitors and fuck their shit. If I'm ever left one of these I'm putting it in a woodchipper and spreading the ashes over 99 until they stop. I get enough spam in my email box, I don't need spam on my fucking doorstep and I will do everything in my power to ensure they get fined the maximum amount for their spam.
Posted by watchout5 on November 16, 2012 at 4:08 AM · Report this

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