International Regulation Alert: New UK Email Law

Posted by Tom Bartel on

For anyone marketing in the United Kingdom the New Year has started with a new email regulation to decipher and comply with: the UK Companies Act Amendments of 2006.

As in the US, where the CAN-SPAM act requires postal address in the footer of each commercial message, the new UK amendment imposes similar requirements for transactional types of business email.

The law extends company registration requirements already in place for paper business letters and forms — requiring certain company details to appear in email versions of those business letters and order forms.

The Email Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC) has provided its membership a short summary
and a detailed interpretation addressing the law and how it applies to email marketing and transactional email. They have generously given us permission to share these briefs here.

From the ESPC’s view, the new regulation would seem to only apply to transactional email. However, the definition of transactional email in the UK seems unclear. They recommend for transactional messages to include all required disclosures for business letters and for commercial messages including regular CAN-SPAM compliant disclosures.

The UK defined and proposed their change on December 20, 2006 and it became effective on January 1, 2007. This appears to be a change that was somewhat unexpected and may be surprising UK businesses and email marketers.

There are only a few articles on the new law that have surfaced, one in the Register and another on Platinax. Otherwise, it is rather quiet.

Ironically, CDMS Solutions in Britain reported this week that a third of top British companies are still breaking pre-existing email privacy laws. Keeping up with new email regulations will clearly continue to be an international challenge.

It should be said that it’s not completely clear how the law will be enforced. We advise our clients to take precautions and consider taking steps to be sure their emails are in compliance with this law if they have any registered business operations in the UK and send any email within the UK.

As always, this posting and related links are for information only and should not be construed as legal advice in any way. You MUST consult with your legal counsel on all regulatory compliance issues and to understand your specific compliance obligations. Give them a call today.


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About Tom Bartel

Tom Bartel is Return Path’s Senior Vice President of ThreatWave Data. Tom has more than 20 years of email delivery, email data and privacy experience. He most recently joined Return Path through its acquisition of ThreatWave, where he served as CEO/Co-founder. Prior to that, he has held roles at Return Path, MessageMedia (acquired by DoubleClick), and founded several other startups. Tom is actively involved in key industry organizations, such as OTA and M3AAWG, and advises start-ups and non-profits. Tom has a Bachelor in Speech Communication from Colorado State University.

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