Unbelievable. These guys just don't want to give up. I just got an email from Dex which says that the Yellow Pages Association, Dex, and, Supermedia (who I guess make up the Holy Trinity of yellow pages in Seattle) have asked the courts to grant a preliminary injunction (.pdf) against Seattle's brand new phone book ordinance which bans publishers from distributing yellow pages to anyone on a city-regulated opt-out list.
This after the Seattle City Council decided to scratch a $148 recycling fee for the yellow pages publishers for every ton of
unwanted books junk they leave outside buildings. The city plans to roll out its opt-out website in April. Phone book distributors will be fined $125 for every yellow pages directory delivered to people who have opted-out.
The Seattle City Attorney's Office said that it had "anticipated the preliminary injunction" and was preparing a response. The request for injunction filed with the U.S. District Court in Seattle today says:
Preliminary relief is justified not only because of Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits and the presence of irreparable harm, but also because the equities and public interest weigh in favor of such relief.
Preliminary relief? Irreparable harm? Public interest? What about the thousands of Seattle residents who will be permanently relieved thanks to the ordinance?
YPA, Dex, and SuperMedia had already filed a lawsuit back in November asking the court to overturn the ordinance, arguing that it violates their First Amendment rights. This new request to block the ordinance just shows how desperate they are getting. What's next? An anti-government/anti-phone book ordinance protest in Pioneer Square?
Instead of a city-controlled opt-out list, the YPA wants everyone to use its own website, which it says allows everyone in the country to opt-out of receiving yellow-pages directories. But Council Member Mike O'Brien, who sponsored the phone book ordinance, says that it's a good way to keep close tabs on whether the industry is actually listening to the public's opt-out requests. Both O'Brien and the City Attorney's Office have said that the ordinance is constitutionally sound.