New York, New York (PRWEB) July 8, 2009
The Mobile Advocacy Coalition (http://www.mobileac.org) was formed in June 2009, in response to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Satterfield v. Simon & Schuster, Inc. (No. 07-16356). According to the Mobile Advocacy Coalition, the decision to remand includes instructions that twist the meaning of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 in a way that imperils the entire mobile marketing industry. According to the decision, any computer that sends texts is effectively considered an auto dialer, which puts any mobile marketing campaign on the wrong side of the law.
What is the Mobile Advocacy Coalition's mission? We are comprised of mobile marketing firms, mobile software providers, and SMS aggregators, all working together to lobby the FCC to issue a Declarative Order establishing our industry partners as "mere conduits" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. "Fax broadcasters and the cellular carriers have specific exemptions by the FCC as they are considered to be 'mere conduits'," says Shane Neman, Ez Texting CEO & Mobile Advocacy Coalition founder. "We too are merely the technology providers, and yet still can be liable under the law because no specific exemption exists for us."
How could the Court interpret a computer that sends text messages to be an auto dialer? The court found that because a computer has the capability to generate a random list of numbers -- like an auto dialer -- it is an auto dialer (if you don't see the issue with this interpretation, consider that your cellular phone is a computer). So, it doesn't matter whether the mobile marketer adheres to MMA Best Practices or ensures that a list of numbers is opt-in; the interpretation, and thus liability, rests on the issue of capability.
What happens next? The Court of Appeals has remanded this case to the District Court for further litigation, as they did not agree with the District Court's sensible finding that a computer sending opt-in texts is not an auto dialer. If this interpretation stands, anyone who sends out a mobile marketing campaign will be in violation of the TCPA.
How can industry members help? We are currently building a broad coalition of industry participants to lobby the FCC for a Declarative Ruling. We are working with Scott Delacourt, a lawyer at Wiley Rein LLP, who has worked extensively with the FCC, representing the mobile industry. To join the MAC, visit http://www.mobileac.org/how-to-get-involved.html