How do the State Child Protection Registry laws effect email marketers?
Michigan/Utah Child Protection Registry
On July 1, 2005, in Utah and November 16th, 2005, in Michigan, new state laws took effect that prohibit sending email to a minor whose email address is listed on registries maintained by the State. There is considerable debate about the constitutionality of these laws and about whether they are preempted by the CAN-SPAM act. However, until those legal questions are resolved, your company may risk criminal prosecution or civil lawsuits by failing to comply with the new laws. We recommend you consult your legal adviser to determine the impact these laws may have on your business.
In both cases the laws prohibit sending messages that advertise products which are illegal for a minor to buy or possess or participate in, such as alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gambling, lotteries, illegal drugs, and firearms. A violation with just a single message can bring penalties of $1000 - $5000, up to $250,000 per day per message.
Compliance with the law requires senders to scrub their list of addresses every 30 days against each State's registry. This is a fee based process at a cost of $.007 per address in Michigan and $.005 in Utah. If you are a large mail sender, this will add a significant cost to your mailing campaigns. Each State provides detailed information on compliance at the following links:
Because these laws apply to a very specific type of email advertiser, they may not apply to you. However we advise that all Oracle RightNow Outreach Cloud Service customers familiarize themselves with the State laws. The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) has provided an excellent, detailed overview at http://www.the-dma.org/cgi/dispnewsstand?article=3888.