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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.134

Introduced by Representative Deen of Westminster

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Commerce and trade; unsolicited e‑mail advertising

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to prohibit an advertiser from sending unsolicited commercial e‑mail unless the e‑mail:  identifies the advertiser; provides the advertiser’s name, address, telephone number, and e‑mail address; and provides the recipient with an internet link or e‑mail address at which to notify the advertiser not to send future e‑mail.

AN ACT RELATING TO UNSOLICITED E‑MAIL ADVERTISING

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  9 V.S.A. chapter 66 is added to read:

CHAPTER 66.  UNSOLICITED E‑MAIL

§ 2493.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Advertiser” means a person or entity that advertises through the use of commercial e‑mail advertisements.

(2)  “Commercial e‑mail” advertisement means any electronic mail message initiated for the purpose of advertising or promoting the lease sale, rental, gift offer, or other disposition of any property, goods, services, or extension of credit.

(3)  “Electronic mail” or “e‑mail” means an electronic message that is sent to an e‑mail address and transmitted between two or more telecommunications devices, computers, or electronic devices capable of receiving electronic messages, whether the message is converted to hard copy format after receipt or is viewed upon transmission or stored for later retrieval.

(4)  “Electronic mail address” or “e‑mail address” means a destination, commonly expressed as a series of characters, to which electronic mail can be sent or delivered.  An “electronic mail address” or “e‑mail address” consists of a user name or mailbox and a reference to an internet domain.

(5)  “Preexisting or current business relationship” means that the recipient has made an inquiry and has provided his or her e‑mail address, or has made an application, purchase, or transaction, with or without consideration, regarding products or services offered by the advertiser. 

(6)  “Recipient” means the addressee or an unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement.  If an addressee of an unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement has one or more e‑mail addresses to which an unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement is sent, the addressee shall be deemed to be a separate recipient for each e‑mail address to which the advertisement is sent.

(7)  “Unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement” means a commercial e‑mail advertisement sent to a recipient who meets both of the following criteria:

(A)  The recipient has not provided direct consent to receive an advertisement from the advertiser;

(B)  The recipient does not have a preexisting or current business relationship, as defined in subdivision (5) of this section, with the advertiser promoting the lease, sale, rental, gift offer, or other disposition of any property, goods, services, or extension of credit.

§ 2494.  UNSOLICITED COMMERCIAL E‑MAIL

A person shall not initiate or advertise in an unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement sent from Vermont or initiate or send an unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement to an electronic e‑mail address in Vermont unless:

(1)  The advertiser conspicuously states in the electronic mail the advertiser’s legal name, correct mailing address, correct e‑mail address, correct telephone number, and valid internet domain name;

(2)  The e‑mail includes a valid, working internet link or e‑mail address that the recipient may use to notify the advertiser not to send future electronic mail to the recipient;

(3)  The e‑mail includes a conspicuous statement informing the recipient that the recipient may be excluded from future e‑mail advertisement at no cost by notifying the advertiser according to one of the methods required by subdivision (2) of this section.

§ 2496.  REMEDIES

(a)(1)  In addition to any other remedies provided by any other provision of law, a recipient of an unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement transmitted in violation of this chapter, an electronic mail service provider, or the attorney general may bring an action against an entity that violates any provision of this chapter to recover either or both of the following:

(A)  Actual damages.

(B)  Liquidated damages of $1,000.00 for each unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement transmitted in violation of section 2492 of this title, up to $1,000,000.00 per incident.

(2)  The recipient, an electronic mail service provider, or the attorney general, if the prevailing plaintiff, may also recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

(3)  However, there shall not be a cause of action against an electronic mail service provider that is only involved in the routine transmission of the unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement over its computer network.

(b)  If the court finds that the defendant established and implemented, with due care, practices and procedures reasonably designed effectively to prevent unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisements that are in violation of this chapter, the court shall reduce the liquidated damages recoverable under subsection (a) of this section to a maximum of $100.00 for each unsolicited commercial e‑mail advertisement, or a maximum of $100,000.00 per incident.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us