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February 17, 2004 marked the end of a long wait for the marketing research industry. The final decision regarding the "Do-Not-Call Registry," an issue that has been in review since September, was released late last Tuesday afternoon. The ruling targeted only commercial sales calls, not survey and marketing research, resulting in a major sigh of relief for marketing research professionals.

The 10th Circuit Court found no merit to the challenges stating that: "We hold that the do-not-call registry is a valid commercial speech regulation because it directly advances the government's important interests in safeguarding personal privacy reducing the danger of telemarketing abuse without burdening an excessive amount of speech."

Since 1991, when the TCPA was enacted, CMOR has monitored and worked hard to keep survey and opinion research exempt. CMOR heightened its efforts and concern in 1995 when the Telemarketing Sales Rule was enacted. These two efforts gave the FCC & FTC the needed teeth to fight unwanted telemarketing calls. The legislature acted quickly last year to close the loophole and give the FTC the authority to enforce.

For years, Donna Gillin the past Government Affairs Director for CMOR worked diligently with the FTC, FCC and members to maintain the implicit exemption that the industry enjoys. This decision is a testament to her and CMOR's efforts. In the decision, the Court sites four key aspects. The first of which is that "the list restricts only core commercial speech- i.e., commercial sales calls."

This definition emphasizes our exemption and is a testament to the work that got us here. We commend the Court on its ability to comprehend the nature of the case before it and to reinforce the privacy rights of consumers, which we have long supported.

CMOR, MRA, AAPOR and CASRO have worked together over the past few months preparing for the worst decision and readying to do battle on Capital Hill. The group expects further challenges and that we will need to continue to act through CMOR, to prevent any threat to the profession.

Visit the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals official website for more details. http://www.ck10.uscourts.gov/opinions.cfm

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