This is the original legislation that Congress passed in 1991. It is 47 U.S.C. § 227 known as the "Telephone Consumer Protection Act or TCPA". Congress mandated that the FCC come up with rules and regulations to limit the industry. The regulations that the FCC came up with became known as C.F.R 64.1200. I have marked some sections in red which pertain to the laws used to take telemarketers to court.
As used in this section -
It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States -
The Commission shall prescribe regulations to implement the requirements of this subsection. In implementing the requirements of this subsection, the Commission -
A person or entity may, if otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of court of a State, bring in an appropriate court of that State -
Within 120 days after December 20, 1991, the Commission shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding concerning the need to protect residential telephone subscribers' privacy rights to avoid receiving telephone solicitations to which they object. The proceeding shall -
Not later than 9 months after December 20, 1991, the Commission shall
conclude the rulemaking proceeding initiated under paragraph (1) and
shall prescribe regulations to implement methods and procedures for
protecting the privacy rights described in such paragraph in an
efficient, effective, and economic manner and without the imposition
of any additional charge to telephone subscribers.
The regulations required by paragraph (2) may require the establishment and operation of a single national database to compile a list of telephone numbers of residential subscribers who object to receiving telephone solicitations, and to make that compiled list and parts thereof available for purchase. If the Commission determines to require such a database, such regulations shall -
If the Commission determines to require the database mechanism described in paragraph (3), the Commission shall -
A person who has received more than one telephone call within any 12-month period by or on behalf of the same entity in violation of the regulations prescribed under this subsection may, if otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of court of a State bring in an appropriate court of that State -
The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to permit a communication prohibited by subsection (b) of this section.
It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States -
The Commission shall revise the regulations setting technical and
procedural standards for telephone facsimile machines to require that
any such machine which is manufactured after one year after December
20, 1991, clearly marks, in a margin at the top or bottom of each
transmitted page or on the first page of each transmission, the date
and time sent, an identification of the business, other entity, or
individual sending the message, and the telephone number of the
sending machine or of such business, other entity, or individual.
The Commission shall prescribe technical and procedural standards for systems that are used to transmit any artificial or prerecorded voice message via telephone. Such standards shall require that -
Except for the standards prescribed under subsection (d) of this section and subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, nothing in this section or in the regulations prescribed under this section shall preempt any State law that imposes more restrictive intrastate requirements or regulations on, or which prohibits -
If, pursuant to subsection (c)(3) of this section, the Commission requires the establishment of a single national database of telephone numbers of subscribers who object to receiving telephone solicitations, a State or local authority may not, in its regulation of telephone solicitations, require the use of any database, list, or listing system that does not include the part of such single national database that relates to such State.
Whenever the attorney general of a State, or an official or agency
designated by a State, has reason to believe that any person has
engaged or is engaging in a pattern or practice of telephone calls or
other transmissions to residents of that State in violation of this
section or the regulations prescribed under this section, the State
may bring a civil action on behalf of its residents to enjoin such
calls, an action to recover for actual monetary loss or receive $500
in damages for each violation, or both such actions. If the court
finds the defendant willfully or knowingly violated such regulations,
the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award to
an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount available under
the preceding sentence.
The district courts of the United States, the United States courts of
any territory, and the District Court of the United States for the
District of Columbia shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all civil
actions brought under this subsection. Upon proper application, such
courts shall also have jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, or
orders affording like relief, commanding the defendant to comply with
the provisions of this section or regulations prescribed under this
section, including the requirement that the defendant take such
action as is necessary to remove the danger of such violation. Upon a
proper showing, a permanent or temporary injunction or restraining
order shall be granted without bond.
The State shall serve prior written notice of any such civil action
upon the Commission and provide the Commission with a copy of its
complaint, except in any case where such prior notice is not
feasible, in which case the State shall serve such notice immediately
upon instituting such action. The Commission shall have the right (A)
to intervene in the action, (B) upon so intervening, to be heard on
all matters arising therein, and (C) to file petitions for appeal.
Any civil action brought under this subsection in a district court of
the United States may be brought in the district wherein the
defendant is found or is an inhabitant or transacts business or
wherein the violation occurred or is occurring, and process in such
cases may be served in any district in which the defendant is an
inhabitant or where the defendant may be found.
For purposes of bringing any civil action under this subsection,
nothing in this section shall prevent the attorney general of a
State, or an official or agency designated by a State, from
exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general or such
official by the laws of such State to conduct investigations or to
administer oaths or affirmations or to compel the attendance of
witnesses or the production of documentary and other evidence.
Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit
an authorized State official from proceeding in State court on the
basis of an alleged violation of any general civil or criminal
statute of such State.
Whenever the Commission has instituted a civil action for violation
of regulations prescribed under this section, no State may, during
the pendency of such action instituted by the Commission,
subsequently institute a civil action against any defendant named in
the Commission's complaint for any violation as alleged in the
As used in this subsection, the term "attorney general" means the chief legal officer of a State.