One of the most challenging aspects of taking a trade that you’ve honed over many years and relocating it to a new environ is how you adapt your practises in accordance to the local laws. In the world of Digital Marketing one area that is heavily, but inconsistently, regulated is protection from spam email. Last month email testing and analytic website Litmus, alongside newsletter2go, produced a fantastically well researched article outlining international spam laws (read the full article in English, ou en français). For a digital marketing freelancer, or a small-medium enterprise, working between France and the United Kingdom this blog post will provide an at a glance summary of the what you need to know about email spam law and the specific nuances between the two countries.
Email spam law
Knowing the law is the first step in following it, and this is signposted very clearly between the two countries. While using this blog post as a guide remember to always check official documentation before starting a campaign.
🇬🇧 In the United Kingdom the law regarding spam email is set by the ‘Data Protection Act’ and the ‘Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003′.
🇫🇷 In France this law is covered by ‘Article L. 43–5 Code of Postal and Electronic Communications’ and ‘Loi du 21 juin 2004 pour la confiance dans l’économie numérique’.
Do I have to have consent?
Both France and the UK require consent from users before receiving email, however the counties have a small but important difference.
🇬🇧 In the United Kingdom consent is required, this can however be collected from an opt-in box that has been pre-checked without direct action from the user.
🇫🇷 In France consent is required, and passive content such as pre-checked opt-in boxes do not count as consent.
This difference means that if you operate your business between the UK and France and want to email inhabitants of both countries, you cannot collect email subscriptions from passive content regardless of which of these countries you reside in.
Do I have to allow recipients to unsubscribe?
In a word, yes. Both in terms of email spam law and good business practise you should remove people from any mailing list once a request has been submitted, however the guidelines between countries differ slightly on this.
🇬🇧 In the United Kingdom you must respond to an unsubscribe request with removal from your mailing list within 28 days.
🇫🇷 In France the guidelines are a little more tricky, with rulings being made on a case by case basis based on what is considered ‘reasonable’. As no country in Europe has a deadline of more than 30 days once a request has been submitted it is reasonable to assume that any French authority would begin to look down on a company not acting beyond this length of time.
Although this post is focusing on the hard facts of email spam law it should be mentioned that in the current age digital marketing must be seen as responsive, as users consistently want faster results. With that in mind you should look to remove addresses from your mailing list as soon as possible and ideally before sending your next newsletter.
What information do I have to include in a marketing email?
For once we have a beautiful Franglais unity, as both France and the UK agree on having certain identifiable and actionable details in any marketing email sent.
🇬🇧 🇫🇷 Emails must contain the identification and postal address of the sender, as well as having a clear information on unsubscribing from an email list – which can take the user to no more than one additional webpage.
Can I be punished by breaking email spam law?
Although in practise the number of prosecutions for breaking internet spam law remains low the consequences for being caught are very high in both France and the United Kingdom.
🇬🇧 The aforementioned Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 states that offenders can be charged up to £500,000 (at the time of writing €587,480)
🇫🇷 French email spam law dictates that those caught breaking the rules can be fined up to €750 (£638) per email.
Although France and the United Kingdom share the same basic principals on protecting the public from unsolicited and unwanted emails, the subtle differences can catch you out if you are operating between the two countries for the first time. Take extra care when putting together your mailing list and your emails and if in doubt always double check the advice given.
References available in the full Litmus infographic, be sure to check it out.
- Posted by ShaunDigital
- On September 13, 2016
- 0 Comments