Clickz – Canada’s Anti-Spam Law
Most online marketers doing business in Canada today are already familiar with PIPEDA. But many are not aware that a new law, known in Parliament as Bill C-28 and later renamed Canada’s Online Protection Legislation (COPL) was given Royal Assent on December 15, 2010. The law imposes onerous opt-in and other responsibilities on marketers doing business online in Canada. It covers items such as the sending of commercial electronic messages (CEM), prohibition of installing computer programs without consent, and sending messages with false or misleading information in the content or header. Enforcement of the law is expected to commence in September 2011, which should give marketers ample time to comply.
COPL is effectively Canada’s first anti-spam law, which removes the distinction of Canada being the only G8 nation without one. The provisions of PIPEDA already covered opt-in, however, enforcement actions were limited. Under the new law, a definitive set of requirements and enforcement actions are laid out and penalties for violation of the law can be severe. Unlike CAN-SPAM, which covers only e-mail, COPL covers CEM, which is defined as any commercial “message sent by any means of telecommunication, including a text, sound, voice or image message.” Effectively, this includes:
- Instant messages
- Social media postings such as tweets
- Some voice communications
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