Breaking The Fax Jam

You know the feeling: You rush over to the facsimile machine to pick up an urgent message. Instead, leisurely scrolling out is an ad for cheap fax paper or the take-out menu of a nearby Chinese restaurant. All the while, your crucial document is suspended somewhere in an unending loop of busy and redial.

Beginning in January, Californians will have a way to fight back. State Assemblyman Richard Katz figured that unsolicited faxes were enough of a problem to warrant legislation discouraging them. So he penned a bill requiring faxed advertising to include a toll-free number, so that recipients could call to halt future faxes. Violators would be subject to a $500 fine.

Katz's intent seems good, but his methods may need some work. We received his announcement of the new legislation when we rushed over to pick up an urgent fax, and there, leisurely scrolling out of the machine . . . .

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