European Email Legislation in 5 minutes!
There has been a lot has been talk over last couple of years - particularly since August 2000 Distance Selling Directive did not give direct marketing industry sufficiently clear guidelines about opt-in and opt-out status in respect of email usage.
At that point it was left to individual EU Member States to ensure that Unsolicited Commercial Emails (UCE) are only sent where there is no clear objection from consumer. This ambiguity left way clear for dubious spamming practices we have all witnessed over last couple of years.
Following persistent lobbying from pressure groups, MEP's and responsible email marketers, EU Parliament finally moved in mid 2002 to clarify position in favour of gaining explicit consent from email users. Opt-in email marketing will become standard following second reading of EU Directive 2002/58/EC and its subsequent adoption later this year. So in practical terms, what does it mean when Directive is adopted in UK? In a nutshell, it boils down to a couple of points: -
1. "…..it is justified to require that prior explicit consent of recipients is obtained before such communications are addressed to them." This could not be clearer - opt-in is only legitimate form of email marketing left available to direct marketing industry. Providing a simple opt-out mechanism will now no longer be sufficient to ensure legitimacy.