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Appeals court boost to no-call list

Washington, Sept. 27 (Reuters): A US appeals court said yesterday it would likely approve an anti-telemarketing measure that two lower courts had blocked days earlier, adding a further twist to what has been a rollercoaster week for the popular programme.

The 10th circuit court of appeals in Denver denied a request by telemarketers to halt the federal government’s “do-not-call” list and said it would likely rule in favour of the measure when it soon hears the case.

The telemarketers “have failed to establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits,” a three-judge panel said.

The decision has no immediate effect on two lower-court rulings that sidelined the list earlier this week, meaning that consumers who placed some 50 million phone numbers on the no-call list will likely still receive telemarketing calls after October 1, the original start date.

The appeals-court decision capped a whirlwind week which saw Congress move with uncharacteristic speed to overcome the objections of a federal court in Oklahoma City, which said the Federal Trade Commission lacked authority to run the list.

But to Congress’ dismay, another court in Denver struck it down again, this time on free-speech grounds.

The appeals panel ruled on a third challenge — to the Federal Communications Commission’s role in helping the FTC develop the list.

Telemarketers say the list infringes their free speech rights under the US Constitution, while the government says commercial speech such as theirs is entitled to less protection.

The appeals panel said that while telemarketers will be harmed by the no-call list, which would deny them millions of sales prospects, that concern is outweighed by the privacy interests of the tens of millions of Americans.

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