They pile up outside your building. They fill up city recycling centers. They melt in the rain, or they fester inside that weird thin plastic bag. They’re phone books, and you don’t want ’em? Well too bad.

In a unanimous decision Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a 2010 Seattle law that would charge phone book companies fees to deliver within city limits, plus extra charges for books that went in the trash. The court ruled that phone books, like other printed media, are protected by the First Amendment.

From The Seattle Times:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The city may appeal, said City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who led the effort to crack down on phone books.

“I think comparing the yellow pages to The New York Times challenges most of our perception of what the yellow pages really are,” he said.

Yes — an innovative medium for new public art!

The ruling also squashes San Francisco’s 2011 law banning all yellow pages delivery without permission from residents. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who sponsored the law, told the L.A. Times that the ruling “protects giant corporate polluters that litter our city doorsteps with millions of unwanted Yellow Page books” (the city’s law doesn’t apply to the white ones).

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

While approximately one third of America still lives without internet, us city folk are tired of these annoying “books” that only make for slightly interesting DIY projects (requiring gobs of sealant) and mostly unsafe baby booster seats.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, however:

“Not everybody Googles,” said Neg Norton, president of the Local Search Assn., the trade organization representing the publishers. “People still keep their yellow pages in a handy place. Most people keep them in a kitchen drawer.”

Or, you know, under the kitchen table.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.