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Monday, June 22, 2009

Stephen King's Text Message Horror Story

This is one of two posts today involving (U.S.) federal law with fiction-writing sidebars. In this story, Simon & Schuster sent text messages promoting a Stephen King book (Cell). In 2006, a woman who'd signed up for a ring-tone service with promotions for the service received a Stephen King book promotion. She alleged this violated consumer protection laws and sought a class-action suit.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that sending SMS messages potentially violates the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits companies from using automatic telephone dialing systems to make calls to cell phones unless the owners have consented.

This 2009 ruling reverses a previous one, equating text messages with voice calls. It is not clear from the story what the connection is between the Simon & Schuster text messages and the ring-tone service. It would seem that if the ring-tone service were serving unrelated ads to their customers, it would be the alleged culprit [unsolicited layman's view]. Here is the rest of this Media Post News article.

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