A state taxing authority’s request for information on transactions by an online bookseller with state residents, in connection with a dispute over the bookseller’s liability for state sales and use taxes, is barred by the First Amendment, a district court ruled. The court held that the request for records of transactions that include personally identifiable information would disclose the expressive content of the customers’ literary, film and music purchasess, and would, therefore, “have a chilling effect that implicates the First Amendment.” The court also ruled that the disclosure of the information concerning the customers’ video and audiovisual purchases was barred by the federal Video Protection and Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2710.

Amazon.com, LLC v. Lay, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1131 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 25, 2010) Download PDF