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According to the Can Spam Act of 2003 in the USA, is it illegal to send unsolicited emails to a manually harvested email list? Thanks.
#emails #sending
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  • Profile picture of the author gdub01
    I think no, because there's a ton of places you can download email lists for prospecting.
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    Been a long time since I read it, but what I recall is...

    If you don't follow can-spam and you are found to have also harvested emails, they will hit you with an additional fine.

    I highly wouldn't recommend scraping data for B2C, but don't have a problem with B2B if done right.
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    • Profile picture of the author MarkLakewood3367
      Originally Posted by DIABL0 View Post

      Been a long time since I read it, but what I recall is...

      If you don't follow can-spam and you are found to have also harvested emails, they will hit you with an additional fine.

      I highly wouldn't recommend scraping data for B2C, but don't have a problem with B2B if done right.
      This is how I read the Can Spam Act.
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  • You can legally collect addresses manually but the trouble is there is no way to prove your collection methods were honest if anyone complains.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mega Vaper
    No, people have no respect, and there are no repercussions.
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  • Profile picture of the author ProducerK
    Sending messages to harvested lists is never a good idea.
    Your going to find your lists littered with spam traps, and your sending reputation is going to take a beating.
    Just don't do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikec2010
    It is illegal to send unsolicited emails to anyone without their prior consent.
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    • Profile picture of the author MarkLakewood3367
      Originally Posted by mikec2010 View Post

      It is illegal to send unsolicited emails to anyone without their prior consent.
      Can you point me to a legal document that actually says this because I cannot? Thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author ProducerK
      Originally Posted by mikec2010 View Post

      It is illegal to send unsolicited emails to anyone without their prior consent.
      This simply is not true.
      Consent in the USA is always has been based on the ability to opt out from receiving future email.

      In Canada, the laws are different. We have the CASL laws here, which are based off expressed consent. This mean, you need a prior business relationship, or the user must opt in to communications, before you can contact them. Furthermore, you will also still need to process opt outs and such as they are requested by the people in your list.

      The EU has laws that are more similar to CASL and in Canada.
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  • Profile picture of the author NamanModi
    Sending unsolicited emails to the harvested list is never good.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkLakewood3367
    I really appreciate the latest responses. However, I am looking more for clarification on the law itself regarding this behavior rather than how people feel about those who engage in this behavior. Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author ProducerK
    The Can Spam Act, in a simplest form says this:

    *You cannot harvest or send to Consumer Lists. You can for B2B.
    *You cannot have misleading subject lines, from names, or modified headers.
    *You must have public WHOIS on your domains. (This is a recent update)
    *You must provide a simple, clear, single step opt out procedure.
    *You must provide a valid company name, address (With working mail) to be contacted.
    *Opt outs must be processed within 10 business days.

    There are further points to the law, but these are the main ones you need to follow in order to be complaint.
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    • Profile picture of the author MarkLakewood3367
      Originally Posted by ProducerK View Post

      The Can Spam Act, in a simplest form says this:

      *You cannot harvest or send to Consumer Lists. You can for B2B.
      *You cannot have misleading subject lines, from names, or modified headers.
      *You must have public WHOIS on your domains. (This is a recent update)
      *You must provide a simple, clear, single step opt out procedure.
      *You must provide a valid company name, address (With working mail) to be contacted.
      *Opt outs must be processed within 10 business days.

      There are further points to the law, but these are the main ones you need to follow in order to be complaint.
      Thank you for your response. Where does it say that it is okay to send harvested unsolicited ads to B2B (Business to Business) because I cannot find that stated anywhere?

      Interestingly, I cannot find any legal documents that specifically state that it is illegal in the USA to harvest emails and send unsolicited emails to those addresses until of course the receiver opts out. The Can Spam Act can be found here. Harvesting emails is only mentioned twice within this 22 page law. When it is mentioned, it is in relation to a aggravated factor/sentencing enhancement once one is convicted of breaking the Can Spam law (the use of deceptive email practices). It doesn't appear to be a standalone law. I could have misread the document but I read it several times drawing the same conclusion.

      To my knowledge, the Can Spam Act is an opt out law where I believe that Europe and Canada have opt in laws. I thought this loophole was kind of strange when I caught it. If I misread the law, please let me know.

      It appears that the law defines harvesting as such:

      the electronic mail address of the recipient was
      obtained using an automated means from an Internet
      website or proprietary online service operated by
      another person, and such website or online service
      included, at the time the address was obtained, a notice
      stating that the operator of such website or online
      PUBLIC LAW 108-187NDEC. 16, 2003 117 STAT. 2709
      service will not give, sell, or otherwise transfer
      addresses maintained by such website or online service
      to any other party for the purposes of initiating, or
      enabling others to initiate, electronic mail messages;
      or
      (ii) the electronic mail address of the recipient
      was obtained using an automated means that generates possible electronic mail addresses by combining
      names, letters, or numbers into numerous permutations.

      I'm not sure what this means. So, I'm assuming from the law itself that the issue of harvesting emails can only be addressed if one first is accused of sending deceptive emails. Please let me know if I am reading this wrong.

      Thanks.
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      • Profile picture of the author dburk
        Originally Posted by MarkLakewood3367 View Post

        Thank you for your response. Where does it say that it is okay to send harvested unsolicited ads to B2B (Business to Business) because I cannot find that stated anywhere?.
        Hi MarkLakewood3367,

        I think it fair to say that laws and regulations typically do not indicate what you can do, only what you cannot do.

        There is a basic assumption that if the law doesn't expressly prohibit an act then it is permissible under law. Having said that, you do need to be careful with any law that is written ambiguously as it can be, and sometimes is, interpreted at the whims of regulators.

        To truly understand the law you need to have a good deal of knowledge about the contested interpretations that are codified by court cases. In other words, seek the advice of a lawyer that specializes in the pertinent law, or take your chances. Seeking legal advice on a forum might not be the wisest choice.

        I'm not an attorney, but I do believe the law relates to privacy concerns and is not meant to apply to a business the same way as to consumers. However, there are certainly aspects that apply to all parties. In addition, the various ISPs all have their own internal policies that are not subject to the CAN SPAM act that regulate usage on their own platform that typically is far more restrictive than the law, so you need to consider those policies in your practice.

        To be sure, any kind of unsolicited bulk mailing is going to be hit with many issues, both legal as well as industry standard policies and practices. Just because it is not illegal does not mean messages will be allowed to be sent over networks owned by private service provider companies.

        I recommend that you learn and adapt to all industry standards and practices as they will likely be well within the confines of the law, and you need to meet those standards anyway to get your messages reliably delivered.

        HTH,

        Don Burk
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        • Profile picture of the author MarkLakewood3367
          Originally Posted by dburk View Post

          Hi MarkLakewood3367,

          I think it fair to say that laws and regulations typically do not indicate what you can do, only what you cannot do.

          There is a basic assumption that if the law doesn't expressly prohibit an act then it is permissible under law. Having said that, you do need to be careful with any law that is written ambiguously as it can be, and sometimes is, interpreted at the whims of regulators.

          To truly understand the law you need to have a good deal of knowledge about the contested interpretations that are codified by court cases. In other words, seek the advice of a lawyer that specializes in the pertinent law, or take your chances. Seeking legal advice on a forum might not be the wisest choice.

          I'm not an attorney, but I do believe the law relates to privacy concerns and is not meant to apply to a business the same way as to consumers. However, there are certainly aspects that apply to all parties. In addition, the various ISPs all have their own internal policies that are not subject to the CAN SPAM act that regulate usage on their own platform that typically is far more restrictive than the law, so you need to consider those policies in your practice.

          To be sure, any kind of unsolicited bulk mailing is going to be hit with many issues, both legal as well as industry standard policies and practices. Just because it is not illegal does not mean messages will be allowed to be sent over networks owned by private service provider companies.

          I recommend that you learn and adapt to all industry standards and practices as they will likely be well within the confines of the law, and you need to meet those standards anyway to get your messages reliably delivered.

          HTH,

          Don Burk
          Thank you for your response.
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  • Profile picture of the author ProducerK
    I think your interpretation of the law is correct, in regards to it only being illegal if its deceptive.
    Also note, I am not a lawyer and am just stating what my understanding of the law is based on my limited knowledge of it.
    I would never harvest data since i know how terribly its going to hurt my sending reputation, plus I am only sending targeted stuff to my different lists.
    If your looking for more in depth understanding of the law, you can send me a PM, and I can give you a couple names of some very good internet lawyers who have tons of experience in this area. I don't feel comfortable posting their names here in the public forum.
    Hope this help to clear it up for you.
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    • Profile picture of the author MarkLakewood3367
      Originally Posted by ProducerK View Post

      I think your interpretation of the law is correct, in regards to it only being illegal if its deceptive.
      Also note, I am not a lawyer and am just stating what my understanding of the law is based on my limited knowledge of it.
      I would never harvest data since i know how terribly its going to hurt my sending reputation, plus I am only sending targeted stuff to my different lists.
      If your looking for more in depth understanding of the law, you can send me a PM, and I can give you a couple names of some very good internet lawyers who have tons of experience in this area. I don't feel comfortable posting their names here in the public forum.
      Hope this help to clear it up for you.
      Thank you for your response. MInus the definition of harvesting, I think that the law is pretty clear regarding harvested emails. I just wanted to make sure that I was reading it correctly.

      I could not find text within the law that states that B2B (business to business) doesn't need to comply with the law. I found a number of articles on the Internet that states that B2B also needs to comply with the law. However, I don't believe that any of these articles are from legal sites. What is your understanding of B2B? Thanks.
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      • Profile picture of the author ProducerK
        Originally Posted by MarkLakewood3367 View Post

        Thank you for your response. MInus the definition of harvesting, I think that the law is pretty clear regarding harvested emails. I just wanted to make sure that I was reading it correctly.

        I could not find text within the law that states that B2B (business to business) doesn't need to comply with the law. I found a number of articles on the Internet that states that B2B also needs to comply with the law. However, I don't believe that any of these articles are from legal sites. What is your understanding of B2B? Thanks.
        After further review, it seems as though B2B is going to fall under the same limitations.
        I know the laws were amended fairly recently, and this might have been something that had changed.
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        • Profile picture of the author MarkLakewood3367
          Originally Posted by ProducerK View Post

          After further review, it seems as though B2B is going to fall under the same limitations.
          I know the laws were amended fairly recently, and this might have been something that had changed.
          Thank you for your response. This appears to be a list of recent changes to Can Spam Act. I don't see any changes that are pertinent to this discussion. Other than this link, can you point me to any document that contains recent changes to the law?
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  • Profile picture of the author ProducerK
    Just to be clear on the above comment:

    "To be sure, any kind of unsolicited bulk mailing is going to be hit with many issues, both legal as well as industry standard policies and practices. Just because it is not illegal does not mean messages will be allowed to be sent over networks owned by private service provider companies"

    There are hundreds of providers who have no issue with email being sent over their network. Email is still big big business. As with most things in life, its all about who you know.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I'm not sure what this means. So, I'm assuming from the law itself that the issue of harvesting emails can only be addressed if one first is accused of sending deceptive emails. Please let me know if I am reading this wrong.

    You have some good replies above - but they are opinions and you are asking for proof or documentation.



    You will not get a definitive answer about the law on a forum.



    If your questions are for discussion purposes, it's an interesting discussion. If you are asking due to a process/plan you are using, might want to pay for an hour of access to an attorney who specializes in ecommerce.
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  • Profile picture of the author ProducerK
    https://www.hinchnewman.com/internet...hard-b-newman/

    Richard is very well versed in email and internet law.

    *I have no affiliation with him at all, just a connection I have met. Use your own due diligence.
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