Blackletter

Blackletter

Blackletter laws are the well-established legal rules that are no longer subject to reasonable dispute. Originally, "blackletter" was the Gothic type-style which was used to set forth the law in England until the mid 18th century. It was originally used so commoners couldn't understand the laws. Every business is subject to so-called blackletter laws. This podcast brings famously experienced business people, lawyers, accountants, and anyone else in the realm of business to the table to share personal experiences that have shaped their business and to talk about how to handle black letter issues in creative ways.... Show More
July 20, 2020 2 min

Today we're going to talk about the TCPA and a new ruling from the FCC. The Federal Communications Commission, the FCC has just approved two new safe harbors from liability for blocking unwanted robocalls. This is good news for consumers. As phone companies step up and try to block unwanted robocalls and illegal robocalls, this provides a safe harbor for those phone companies so that they don't get in trouble for blocking calls. That they shouldn't be blocking.

The first safe harbor, which is the simplest one allows phone companies to use "reasonable analytics, including caller ID authentication information to identify and block illegal or unwanted calls from liability." The TCPA,the Telecommunications Privacy Act, prohibits robocallers from making calls to you if you don't want them, and if they don't have your consent. Consent usually has to be in writing and signed by you electronically (click to agree counts).

The illegal robocalls could subject the company that's making the calls to TCPA liability. This new act gives phone companies safe harbor from lawsuit on either side, as long as they "use reasonable analytics." For example, including caller ID to identify and block illegal or unwanted calls.

The second part of the act safe harbor says that "It protects providers that block call traffic from bad actor upstream voice service providers that pass illegal or unwanted calls along to other providers when those upstream providers have been notified, but failed to take action."

In other words, if an upstream provider is making unwanted robocalls, the phone company, if they've been notified, that's a bad actor can stop receiving calls from that company in the phone lines for the consumer. 

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