A federal law aimed at limiting eMail smut does not violate free-speech rights, the Supreme Court said. The court’s unanimous decision, issued without an opinion, rejected a computer technology company’s argument that one part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 threatens free-speech rights.

The law had been attacked by ApolloMedia Corp., a San Francisco-based firm that developed the annoy.com web site to let people anonymously communicate their opinions to public officials by using language some might consider indecent.

The challenged provision of the law makes it a crime to transmit a “communication which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another person.” The provision applies to all eMail, even messages sent from one friend or acquaintance to another.

While ApolloMedia’s 1997 lawsuit was pending, the Supreme Court struck down another provision of the Communications Decency Act making it a crime to send any “obscene or indecent” material on the internet knowing it could be seen by someone under 18.