Spammer walks free in Virginia

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State court overturns ruling in Jaynes case.

State court overturns ruling in Jaynes case.

The Virginia supreme court has overturned the conviction of infamous spammer Jeremy Jaynes.

Jaynes had been convicted in 2005 of violating the state's anti-spam law, which prohibited the sending of unsolicited bulk emails.

At the time of his arrest, the North Carolina resident was said to be among the world's 10 most prolific spammers, allegedly sending some 10 million emails every day through AOL email servers.

Jaynes conviction gained national attention because it was the first such conviction for a spammer. Since then, several other so-called "spam kings" have been charged or sued for their actions.

In May, a court had rejected Jaynes's appeal by a narrow margin. The latest decision, however, reverses the conviction and overturns the 2003 law.

The judges ruled that because the law does not discern between commercial and other forms of mass email, it places an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

"That statute is unconstitutionally overbroad on its face because it prohibits the anonymous transmission of all unsolicited bulk emails including those containing political, religious or other speech protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution," the court said in its ruling. "Accordingly, we will reverse the judgment."
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