Pages publishers sue to overturn Seattle’s unconstitutional phone
Dex One Corp., SuperMedia and the Yellow Pages
Association (YPA) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the
Western District of Washington to challenge a Seattle phone book
ordinance on the grounds that it restricts publishers’ fundamental
right to free speech.
The complaint, filed by lead attorneys David Burman and Kathleen
O’Sullivan of Seattle-based Perkins Coie, LLP, asserts that the
ordinance enacted last month violates the First Amendment, which
prohibits government from licensing or exercising advance approval
of the press, from directing publishers what to publish and to
whom they may communicate, and from assessing fees for the privilege
of publishing. The suit also claims that the Seattle ordinance
unlawfully interferes with interstate commerce and violates the
privacy rights of Seattle residents.
“We agree that residents should have a choice of whether they
receive a Yellow Pages directory, but the Seattle City Council
has passed a law that violates the most basic freedom in the
United States,” said Neg Norton, president, YPA. “Even as we
oppose the ordinance in court, we are moving forward with plans
to provide a first-class, national consumer choice website at
www.yellowpagesoptout.com. This website will easily enable consumers
to opt-out of unwanted phonebooks and will add no costs to taxpayers
anywhere – in Seattle or across the country.”
Directory publishers have made significant investments in sustainable
production practices since launching industrywide Environmental
Guidelines in 2007. Successes include:
- Launching consumer choice programs to give consumers a
choice to reduce or stop directory delivery.
- Using paper that contains recycled content and fiber derived
from lumber byproducts making it unnecessary to use new trees
to produce directories.
- A 29 percent reduction in the use of directory paper since
2006 as a result of advanced pagination systems and programs
to reduce the number and size of directories.
- Using soy-based inks and non-toxic dyes that pose little
threat to soil or groundwater supplies and adhesives in the binding
process that are eco-friendly and non-toxic.
- Supporting recycling and up-cycling programs that ensure
directories have a life after use.