Yellow Pages Sues Seattle Over Phone-Book Regs

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The phone-book situation in Seattle used to be terrible. As Seattle Weekly Editor-in-Chief Mark D. Fefer has laid out in previous coverage, stacks of unsolicited Yellow Books and Verizon's yellow pages would be dumped on unsuspecting Seattleite's porches and entryways with obnoxious frequency. That's until October when the city passed an "opt out" ordinance that lets people say "no thanks" to the antiquated tome deliveries. Phone-book companies, meanwhile, have not been amused. Now they've sued to abolish the law.

The Seattle Times reports Tuesday that Dex Media West, SuperMedia LLC and the Yellow Pages Association have filed a lawsuit against the city, saying that the opt-out ordinance violates their First Amendment rights.

Seattle Councilmember Mike O'Brien says it costs about $350,000 per year to recycle stacks of unwanted phone books (we're shocked that there's such a thing as a wanted phone book).

Yellow Pages Association President Neg Norton, meanwhile, tells the Times that the city shouldn't have to have an ordinance, because the company is almost done updating a website that will let people around the country opt-out online.

Sounds exciting. We can't wait.

Far be it from us to criticize the makers of free publications, but if print newspapers are dying, then print phone books are archaeological fossils.

But hey, if the makers of completely unwanted paper products want to sue for their right to dump them anywhere, we suppose there's a free-speech issue buried in there somewhere.

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