Spam is not a freedom of speech issue – it’s a theft issue.
Some people try to compare postal junk mail to UCE. Postal mail is paid for by advertisers and helps support the U.S. Post Office. It is illegal to place postal mail in a mailbox without postage. Spam is paid for in part by the unwilling recipient. In addition, it does not in any way help support the system, but instead seriously abuses it by overloading servers and causing the necessity of additional non-profit producing staff to deal with the problems caused. Ask the sysadmins of small ISPs who have to deal with spam-crashed servers how wonderful it is for small business.
TV and radio ads are also paid for by advertisers and support the service so that users may enjoy it for free. If we don’t want to see TV commercials, we can pay for cable. In the case of spam, the opposite situation exists. Because of the cost-shifting aspects of this practice, the more spam there is the more the end users will have to pay for their connection costs. Many ISPs right now (especially the small businesses who can’t absorb the added expense) are barely making it because of the added burden of spam. Do you wish to pay more for your service just so you can get more junk mail?
Magazines are also supported by advertisements. How much do you suppose a $3.00 magazine would cost you if ads were placed for free? How many fledgling entrepreneurs would be able to start a new magazine – that’s small business, folks – by footing all the start-up costs with no income from advertisers?
Spam also costs the unwilling recipient in lost time loading the gobs of it into their mail readers and wading through it to determine if any of it is solicited information or correspondence from friends and customers. And small business people working on a shoe-string budget normally are the chief cooks and bottle washers, without a staff to assist them. This lost time spent on dealing with spam can greatly impact the building of a small business. If you make your e-mail address public by placing ads and registering with search engines, you know I’m not talking about a couple of pieces of UCE a day – more like 50-100!