America's telemarketing industry was dealt another severe blow Monday when the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal to overturn the recently enacted 'do not call' telemarketing registry.

The appeal was lodged by a trade body, the American Teleservices Association, whose membership ranges from charities to investment banks and major companies like Verizon.

The justices refused to accept the argument that the "First Amendment rights of legitimate telemarketers" had been violated. ATA executive director Tim Searcy described the 'don't call' legislation as "truly a case of regulatory overkill."

As a result of the registry, introduced in October 2003, the number of telephone solicitations (which previously had soared to a high point of 100 million calls a day) there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of unsolicited calls to US households.

Violators are open to penalties of $11,000 for each offense, although charitable and political calls are exempted from the ban.

Promised the Federal Trade Commission, the government agency that introduced the legislation: "[We} will continue to champion consumer privacy by maintaining the registry and taking enforcement action against violators as appropriate."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff