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Reference Guide: Email Marketing Laws

Posted by David O'Sullivan

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Anyone involved in marketing should have a basic understanding of the email marketing laws they need to abide by. Even if your own country has relatively lax rules on what you can and can’t do with email(looking at you USA). It’s also very likely that any halfway reputable email or marketing platform will make you comply with their own often strict terms & conditions, but will very often require you to comply with the laws of your recipients countries.

Navigating these laws can be tremendously difficult, and it can be hard to know where to begin .
So we’ve compiled a large but non exhaustive list of some of the most common email marketing laws below as a starting point:

North America:

United States: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act of 2003)

Canada: CASL


EU: Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications

Austria: Telecommunications Act 1997

Belgium: Loi du 11 mars 2003

Bulgaria: The Law of electronic commerce (2006)

Cyprus: Regulation of Electronic Communications and Postal Services Law of 2004

Czech Republic: Act No. 480/2004 Coll., on Certain Information Society Services

Denmark: Danish marketing practices act

Estonia: Information Society Service Act

Finland: Act on Data Protection in Electronic Communications (516/2004)

France: Loi du 21 juin 2004 pour la confiance dans l’économie numérique

Germany: Gesetz gegen Unlauteren Wettbewerb (UWG)

Hungary: Act CVIII of 2001 on Electronic Commerce

Ireland: European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 2003

Italy: Data Protection Code (Legislative Decree no. 196/2003)

Malta: Data Protection Act (CAP 440)

Netherlands: Dutch Telecommunications Act

Spain: Act 34/2002 of 11 July on Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce

Sweden: Marknadsföringslagen (1995:450)

United Kingdom: Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003

APAC, Middle East & Latam:

Australia: Spam Act 2003

New Zealand: Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007

Argentina: Personal Data Protection Act (2000)

Japan: The Law on Regulation of Transmission of Specified Electronic Mail

Turkey: lektronik Ticaretin Düzenlenmesi Hakkında Kanun

China: Regulations on Internet email Services

Israel: Communications Law (Telecommunications and Broadcasting), 1982 (Amendment 2008)

Hong Kong: Unsolicited Electronic Messaging Ordinance

Indonesia: Undang-undang Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronic (ITE) (Internet Law)

Malaysia: Communications and Multimedia Act 1998

Pakistan: Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance 2007

Singapore: Spam Control Act 2007

South Africa: Consumer Protection Act, 2008

South Korea: Act on Promotion of Information and Communication and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection of 2001

If all that linked reading is too much, I generally suggest anyone who works in email marketing have a basic understanding of both CASL and the EU's E-Privacy Directive as a starting point.

CASL is rather comprehensive and a great overall set of rules for any sender to comply with. And the E-Privacy Directive is what the majority of Europe's individual laws are based on. But no blog post is any substitute for actually working with your legal counsel on this. 


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