San Francisco had created an opt-in ordinance for the once-essential Yellow Pages. But after a court found a similar policy in Seattle unconstitutional, causing San Francisco to suspend their program indefinitely.

According to the Ninth Court of Appeals, distributing the Yellow Pages is a First Amendment right. As such, opt-in programs like San Francisco or the opt-out program in Seattle are illegal limitations on speech. Furthermore, the Court could find no reason that the Yellow Pages should be treated differently than other marketing media.

In San Francisco, it is estimated that half of the directories are recycled, but with more than 1.6 million delivered each year, that still creates a great deal of waste in the city.

San Francisco had proposed and approved a program that would have required residents to opt-in to receiving the Yellow Pages, and then pick them up from a distribution center or delivered in-person to the resident. The plan would have worked towards eliminating the wasted piles of Yellow Pages on the sidewalks.

The group that supports distributing the Yellow Pages says that the market would control the distribution, and local governments shouldn’t.

Read the full article at the Bay Citizen.