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Ezine Publishing Cafe [This Network is not currently active and cannot accept new posts] | | Topics
New State Email Laws, Effective 7/1/05Views: 259
Jul 01, 2005 2:45 am New State Email Laws, Effective 7/1/05

lisa micklin
July 1, 2005 both Michigan and Utah will be instating new email laws.

Here's the gist of the laws as I interpret them. Please keep in mind that I am not a lawyer, this is just my "ezine-esque" interpretation of the research I have done.

Things to know:

~ Legal action can be instigated by individuals. That means that any Bobby Smith,Jane Doe, or Charlie brown in Michigan or Utah can instigate a legal action against you. That's big stuff, folks. It's not just the ISPs who can sue you.

~ Both states are instating a "Do Not Email" registry. Just like the "Do Not Call Registry," if an email is on that list and you email them, even if they opted-in, you are breaking the law.

~ The laws are allegedly designed so that parents and legal guardians can register minors' addresses. However, experts are speculating that adults will be using the registry for themselves which is legally ok to do if a child has access to that address.

~ What's not ok to mail: the usual stuff:
porn, gambling, illegal stuff, etc. Also on the list is financial info (including credit card offers), mortgage info, etc.

~ But wait, there's more! If you send an email,albeit permission based, and there is a link to a 3rd party site that has a credit card offer on it, you are liable. Am I insane, or is this insane? There has been some mention that you get to plead innocence on this piece once.

~ Opt-in don't mean a thing according to these laws, and neither does a paid subscription. Regardless of your proof of how an address got on your list, if they are registered with the registry, you are responsible for removing them.

~ You are required to check with both state registries and remove any registered email addresses from your lists. You are required to do this every 30 days.

~ These state laws can not be weasled out of with the slightly more protective and precise CAN-SPAM laws which contradict the state laws in areas.

More info here until 7/10 only http://www.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=3023

(If you want to read a rant, keep reading. If you're over it, just click the link above and educate yourself.)

Some ranting thoughts on the matter:

This is just inane. Especially the illegality of linking to sites with law breaking ads and the need to clean lists against state registries. What the heck happens when more and more states follow suit? Are they gonna give publishers some kind of grant to pay an assistant to list check with each state before every send?

For best practices be aware of what you are publishing, who you are linking to (maybe link to your own sites only for a while), and think twice before including things like Google Ads in your ezine if you cannot verify that every ad on every site that the Google ads may link to falls within the parameters of these insipid laws.

I didn't mention in my list above that these states are providing funding for legal action. Isn't that just lovely? Instead of spending tax payer dollars on likely ineffective legal action, why not spend it on educational programs for parents and legal guardians that teach them how to run and manage safe computing for their minors? Heck, most adults don't even know how to run an adult safe and secure computer for themselves, why think that they could learn and set up same for their minors? Guess I'm a Utopian at heart.

I understand the need to "protect" minors, I really have no gripe with that part. But, I'm pretty certain that these new laws and others that are to come that engage "Do Not Email" registries will do more to decrease the spam the parents/guardians receive than to "protect" their kids who are being let into R-rated movies by employees not old enough to see the movies themselves, or, who are porning their way across the web in small town libraries or their own homes, who don't have the network administrators with the know-how to lock down a computer station for minors.

OK, I'm almost done ranting. If you hear of any such potential legislation being raised in your state, despite the temptation to lessen your own spam intake, put up a fight, as it is the honest and innocent content publishers who will end up paying in the end, while Viagra spam and the Hot Chix who are waiting up for you still land in both yours and the minors' inboxes.

Phew! Welcome to lesson 208 of how NOT to regulate email delivery.

Your comments are welcome,

Private Reply to lisa micklin (new win)

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