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<pre>
Electronic Networks Not Subject to Post Office Regs

EFF has completed some initial research on the Private Express Statutes of
the Postal Service Regs. The Statutes themselves are defined in 39 U.S.C.
Secs. 601-606 and describe generally the purpose and scope of the Act. But
the really important part for e-mail users is 39 C.F.R. Sec. 310.1. This
is where the U.S. Postal Service regulations define what falls within the
scope of the statute. Electronic networks are not included. The methods
of mail dissemination in 39 C.F.R. 310.1 are limited to the following:

"(d) Post routes are routes on which mail is carried by the Postal Service,
and includes post roads as defined in 39 U.S.C. 5003, as follows:

"(1) The waters of the United States, during the time the mail is carried
thereon;

"(2) Railroads or parts of railroads and air routes in operation;

"(3) Canals, during the time the mail is carried thereon;

"(4) Public roads, highways, and toll roads during the time the mail is
carried thereon; and

"(5) Letter-carrier routes established for the collection and delivery of


mail."

So, at least for the time being, it does not seem that this statute can be used
by the U.S. Postal Service to demand payment for e-mail messages that
deprive them of money not spent on stamps. We thank the folks on the
'net who brought this issue to our attention, though, so we can monitor it
and make sure that there aren't any attempts to change this.

Shari Steele, Director of Legal Services, Electronic Frontier Foundation


ssteele@eff.org
</pre>
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