Law & privacy

Here you can find the relevant legislation documents for Belgian, Dutch, French and British markets. These documents govern the policy of our email marketing campaigns.

 

Belgium

The Law of 11 March 2003 Relating to E-commerce establishes the legislative framework for advertisements sent out via electronic communication. This law finds its origin in the Directive 2002/58/EC of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector.

 

In order for the advertising to be legitimate, it must comply with the following requirements set out in Article 13 of the law:

  • The advertisement needs to be immediately recognizable as such
  • The advertiser must be identified, whether it is a natural person or a company
  • Sale promotions and their conditions must be clear and recognizable as such
  • Promotional games must be recognizable as such, and their participation conditions must be clearly and unmistakably indicated and easy to fulfill.
  • The use of email or other methods of electronic communication for advertisements is prohibited without the prior, free, specific, and informed consent of the recipient of the messages.

 

However, the Royal Decree of 4 April 2003 Relating to the Regulation of the Sending of Advertising via Electronic Mail (implemented by the Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market) establishes two exceptions to the opt-in principle:
  • existing clients
  • companies

United Kingdom

The relevant legislation is called 'The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003'. This comes into force on the 11th December 2003. Below we reproduce the two key sections of the regulations as they affect email marketing - although these should be read within the context of the Data Protection Act '98.

 

Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes

 

22 (1) This regulation applies to the transmission of unsolicited communication by means of electronic mail to individual subscribers.

 

(2) Except in circumstances referred to in paragraph (3), a person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail unless the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communications being sent by, or at the instigation of, the sender.

 

(3) A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where-

(a) that person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;
(b) the direct marketing is in respect of that person's similar products and services only; and
(c) the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication.

 

(4) A subscriber shall not permit his line to be used in contravention of paragraph (2). Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes where the identity or address of the sender is concealed 23. A person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, a communication for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail-

(a) where the identity of the person on whose behalf the communication has been sent has been disguised or concealed; or
(b) where a valid address to which the recipient of the communication may send a request that such communications cease has not been provided.
 

Netherlands

Email advertisement is governed by self-regulatory codes as well as the statutory provisions in the TelW. In general, you are not permitted to send any electronic messages for commercial, non commercial or charitable purposes to private individuals or companies by email, telephone (sms or mms), social media and forums like Hyves, Twitter or Facebook without the recipient’s express consent (spam). In addition, you must always give the recipient the opportunity to opt out of receiving email advertising. This is known as the so-called “opt-in” requirement. No prior permission is required if the addressee has ordered similar products as those advertised from the sender of the email.

Email advertising must also be easy to identify by looking at the combination address line and subject line. The maximum amount of data included in the email may not exceed 50 Kb, unless agreed otherwise between the two parties. The consumer must be able to unsubscribe from a mailing list by simply clicking a hyperlink. This possibility must be made known in a simple, clear, and preferably uniform way. These rules apply to email directed at consumers. Different rules apply to business-to- business (B2B) email. These are minor changes, e.g. the size limit for B2b mail is 150 Kb.

 

France

In France, it is mandatory for marketing and promotional materials to be provided in French (or with a French translation) both in a B2C and a B2B context. Law No. 78 17 of 6 January 1978 on “Information Technology, Data Files and Civil Liberty” (“Law”) is the principal law regulating data protection in France.
The EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC was implemented via Law No. 2004 8021 of 6 August 2004 which amended the Law.


ELECTRONIC MARKETING

The Law does not contain explicit provisions with respect to electronic marketing. However the Commission Nationale Informatique et Libertés (CNIL) has issued guidelines on the basis of French consumer law and electronic communications law.

The CNIL distinguishes between B2B and B2C relationships. In any event, all electronic marketing messages must specify the name of the advertiser and allow the recipient to object to the reception of similar messages in the future.

 

Electronic marketing to consumers (B2C):

Electronic marketing activities are authorised provided that the recipient has given consent at the time of collection of his/her email address.

This principle does not apply when:

  • the concerned individual is already a customer of the company and if the marketing messages
  • sent pertain to products or services similar to those already provided by the company.
  • the marketing messages are not commercial in nature.

In any event the concerned individual must be informed at the time of collection of his/her
email address (i) that it will be used for electronic marketing activities (ii) that he/she may
object to such use.

 

Electronic marketing to professionals (B2B):

Electronic marketing activities are authorised provided that the recipient has been informed at the time of collection of his/her email address (i) that it will be used for electronic marketing activities (ii) that he/she may object to such use.

The message sent must relate to the concerned individual’s professional activity. Please note that email addresses such as contact@companyname.fr are not subject to prior consent and right to object.

 

 

 

 

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