First things first, I'm not a legal expert and so this article DOES NOT represent any legal or professional information and nor can I guarantee its accuracy. I only wrote this article to introduce you to these email laws that might affect us, email marketers.
OK, so what're these email laws?
They're the Child Protection Registry laws that have been taken into effect in the State of Michigan and Utah.
These laws established "Do Not Email" registries into which individuals or institutions that primarily serve minors can enter minors' email addresses or any email address to which minors may have access. Institutions or entities that primarily serve minors can also register their entire domain names.
People are prohibited by these laws from sending email to the addresses that have been in the registries for 30 days or more if the email contains material or link to material that is illegal for minors. And it doesn't matter whether the email is solicited or unsolicited, you still can't send such email.
You might think that the materials must be something obvious such as pornography, gambling, alcohol, etc. Yes, but they're only part of the materials.
The other part consists of less obvious stuff, namely stuff that looks fine, but might be illegal for minors because minors are prohibited by law from viewing, receiving, participating, possessing, or purchasing this stuff. This includes automotive sales, financial services such as credit card, etc.
And according to the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy, these laws apply to almost all people in the United States and even those outside the United States who have a physical presence in the United States. (see http://www.isipp.com/child-protection-email-address-registries.php)
So, imagine you have some email addresses in your list that happen to be already in the "do not email" registry for 30 days, but you're not aware of them. And one day, you send an email that contains a link to a webpage that has some Adsense ads that advertise some automotive sales, guess what may happen to you?
Well, your action may be considered as a computer crime and you might face civil suit and fines or/and you might even face criminal suit and penalty.
So far, there are two things that you can do to prevent you from getting trouble with these laws.
First, make sure that you never send email that contains material or link to material which is illegal for minors. This is so obvious, right?
Second, if you think that you can't comply with the first option, then you can purge your list by matching it against the registries in a regular basis. But there are fees for this.
Don't panic about these laws. Instead, find more information about it. You can start learning more about these laws by visiting the references below:
- Michigan Children's Protection Registry site:
- Michigan Public Act No. 241:
- Michigan Public Act No. 242:
- Utah Code - Child Protection Registry:
- Michigan government's press release:
About the author:
Mohamad Zaki Hussein is the webmaster of http://www.webtrafficideas.com. To learn how to build a perpetual traffic engine by combining Viral Marketing with RSS and Blog, grab the FREE "Instant Traffic Formula" report at http://www.webtrafficideas.com/getviral.
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