Text: H.R.3146 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (10/16/2001)

 
[Congressional Bills 107th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 3146 Introduced in House (IH)]







107th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 3146

 To restrict the transmission of unsolicited electronic mail messages.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                            October 16, 2001

   Mr. Smith of New Jersey introduced the following bill; which was 
            referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To restrict the transmission of unsolicited electronic mail messages.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Netizens Protection Act of 2001''.

SEC. 2. PROHIBITION OF INITIATION OF TRANSMISSION OF UNSOLICITED 
              ELECTRONIC MAIL.

    (a) In General.--No person may initiate, or cause to be initiated, 
the transmission of an unsolicited electronic mail message in or 
affecting interstate or foreign commerce if the message--
            (1) does not contain the name, physical address, and 
        electronic mail address of the person who initiates the 
        transmission of the message;
            (2) does not provide an electronic method by which the 
        recipient of the message can contact the person who initiated 
        the transmission of the message to request that no further such 
        messages be sent, which method may include electronic mail or 
        Internet access; or
            (3)(A) is part of a bulk transmission of such messages; and
            (B) includes information that is located in the subject 
        line of the message and is false or misleading with respect to 
        the body of the message.
    (b) Treatment of State Laws.--Subsection (a) may not be construed 
to preempt any State law relating to unsolicited commercial electronic 
mail.
    (c) Private Right of Action.--
            (1) Cause of action.--Any person adversely affected by a 
        violation of subsection (a) may, within 1 year after discovery 
        of the violation, bring a civil action against a person who 
        violates such subsection in a district court of the United 
        States or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, for the 
        district or jurisdiction in which the unsolicited electronic 
        mail message was received or in which the defendant is located.
            (2) Relief.--In a civil action under this subsection, the 
        court may--
                    (A) grant temporary and final injunctions on such 
                terms as it may deem reasonable to prevent or restrain 
                violations of subsection (a);
                    (B) award damages as described in paragraph (3); 
                and
                    (C) direct the recovery of full costs, including 
                awarding reasonable attorneys' fees to an aggrieved 
                party who prevails.
            (3) Damages.--
                    (A) Amount.--The amount of damages in an action 
                under this subsection for a violation of subsection (a) 
                may not exceed $500 for each unsolicited electronic 
                mail message the transmission of which was initiated in 
                violation of such subsection. The court shall treble 
                the amount recovered under the preceding sentence for 
any transmission of an unsolicited electronic mail message to the 
aggrieved party in violation of subsection (a) that the court finds was 
initiated after the aggrieved party contacted the initiator of the 
transmission to request that the initiator not initiate further 
transmissions of such mail to such person.
                    (B) Relationship to other damages.--Damages awarded 
                under this paragraph for a violation under subsection 
                (a) are in addition to any other damages awardable for 
                the violation under any other provision of law.

SEC. 3. RESTRICTIONS AGAINST USE OF INTERACTIVE COMPUTER SERVICES TO 
              INITIATE UNSOLICITED ELECTRONIC MAIL.

    (a) Statement of Policy.--Each interactive computer service 
provider shall make available to each customer of the interactive 
computer servicer of the provider the policy of the provider regarding 
unsolicited electronic mail, including any option the provider may have 
for the customer to elect to receive or not to receive unsolicited 
electronic mail and any other options customers may exercise to 
restrict the receipt of unsolicited electronic mail. Such policy shall 
be set forth in writing, in clear and understandable language, in the 
agreement for the provision of the interactive computer service by the 
customer.
    (b) Violation of Policy Against Bulk Mail.--No customer of an 
interactive computer service provider may use the equipment or 
facilities of the provider to initiate, or cause to be initiated, the 
bulk transmission of an unsolicited electronic mail message if the 
policy referred to in subsection (a) of the provider prohibits the 
initiation of such bulk transmissions.
    (c) Cause of Action.--
            (1) In general.--In addition to any other remedies 
        available under any other provision of law, any interactive 
        computer service provider adversely affected by a violation of 
        subsection (b) may bring a civil action in a district court of 
        the United States against a person who violates such 
        subsection.
            (2) Relief.--
                    (A) In general.--An action may be brought under 
                paragraph (1) to enjoin a violation of subsection (b), 
                to obtain damages as specified in subparagraph (B), or 
                to obtain such further and other relief as the court 
                considers appropriate.
                    (B) Damages.--The amount of damages in an action 
                under this subsection for a violation of subsection (b) 
                may not exceed $500 for each unsolicited electronic 
                mail message the transmission of which was initiated in 
                violation of such subsection.
                    (C) Relationship to other damages.--Damages awarded 
                under this paragraph for a violation of subsection (b) 
                are in addition to any other damages awardable for the 
                violation under any other provision of law.
                    (D) Cost and fees.--The court may, in issuing any 
                final order in any action brought under this 
                subsection, award costs of suit, reasonable costs of 
                obtaining service of process, reasonable attorney fees, 
                and expert witness fees for the prevailing party.
            (3) Venue; service of process.--Any civil action brought 
        under this subsection in a district court of the United States 
        may be brought in the district in which the defendant or in 
        which the interactive computer service provider is located, is 
        an inhabitant, or transacts business or wherever venue is 
        proper under section 1391 of title 28, United States Code. 
        Process in such an action may be served in any district in 
        which the defendant is an inhabitant or in which the defendant 
        may be found.

SEC. 4. PROTECTION OF INTERACTIVE COMPUTER SERVICE PROVIDERS.

    (a) In General.--An interactive computer service provider who, in 
good faith, takes action to restrict or prevent the receipt of 
unsolicited electronic mail by its customers shall not be liable for 
any harm resulting from failure to prevent such receipt.
    (b) Rule of Construction.--Subsection (a) may not be construed to 
prevent or restrict the liability of any interactive computer service 
provider for any failure to provide any services other than restriction 
or prevention for customers of receipt of unsolicited electronic mail.

SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act, the following definitions shall apply:
            (1) Bulk.--The term ``bulk'' means, with respect to the 
        transmission of an electronic mail message, the transmission, 
        within a 7-day period, of such a message or messages that are 
        identical or substantially similar to 50 or more intended 
        recipients.
            (2) Initiate the transmission.--The term ``initiate the 
        transmission'' means, with respect to an electronic mail, to 
        originate the message, and does not include the actions of any 
        interactive computer service whose facilities or services are 
        used only to relay, handle, or otherwise retransmit the 
        message.
            (3) Interactive computer service.--The term ``interactive 
        computer service'' has the meaning given such term in section 
        230(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(e)).
            (4) Interactive computer service provider.--The term 
        ``interactive computer service provider'' means the provider of 
        an interactive computer service.
            (5) Recipient.--The term ``recipient'' means, with respect 
        to an electronic mail message, an individual electronic mail 
        address to which the message is directed, without regard to 
        whether such address corresponds to a person, computer, list 
        server, or other automated electronic device.
            (6) Unsolicited electronic mail.--The term ``unsolicited 
        electronic mail'' means electronic mail unless such mail is 
        transmitted (A) to any person with that person's prior express 
        invitation or permission, or (B) to any person with whom the 
        sender has an established business or personal relationship.

SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This Act shall take effect upon the expiration of the 60-day period 
beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and shall apply to 
transmissions of electronic mail initiated after the expiration of such 
period.
                                 <all>

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