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Marketing Trade Groups Applaud Signing of National Anti-Spam Law, Caution on Key Provision That Could Lead to "Do Not Email" List
NEW YORK, December 16, 2003 - The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) – the three largest advertising/marketing trade associations – today applauded President Bush for signing the nation’s first anti-spam law, which the House and Senate crafted earlier this year. The law establishes the first national standards for commercial e-mail and charges the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and the state attorneys general with enforcement.
At the same time, however, the trade groups maintained their opposition to a key provision in the law that could open to door to the creation of a "Do Not Email" registry or create labeling requirements. Such approaches, they said, will do nothing to stem the tide of spam caused by fringe operators who for the most part already break existing laws, yet will impede the use of legitimate email communications by honest, law-abiding companies – especially hurting those with lesser known brands, while also impacting household brands.
"A national anti-spam law that imposes criminal penalties is an important victory in the battle against spam because it creates a national standard for legitimate e-mail communications. It supercedes a patchwork of state laws while distinguishing legitimate commercial e-mail from unlawful spam. More importantly, it imposes tough criminal penalties, including jail time, on spammers," said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA.
O. Burtch Drake, President and CEO of the AAAA, agreed, adding that a national law is only the first step on the long road ahead. "This law will make it easier for law enforcement to track down and strongly prosecute the spammers who lurk in the darkness. It will only be successful if it results in the prosecution of spammers, which will discourage others undertaking such nefarious practices."
"No one should hold the illusion that any law can defeat the spam epidemic by itself," added H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. "In addition to better technological solutions, self-regulation, and consumer education and awareness, it is critical that the new anti-spam law is meaningfully enforced. Spammers show no signs that they will suddenly comply. But we pledge industry’s complete support in helping to track down and put these people out of business for good. The DMA recently began a cooperative effort with the FBI, known as Operation Slam Spam."
In an open letter published in the Roll Call newspaper last month, the ANA, DMA and AAAA urged Congress to pass national anti-spam legislation. The open letter underscored increased collaboration among the three groups to curb the growing spam epidemic and protect legitimate commercial e-mail communication.
Earlier this year, the trade groups released a set of practices for businesses that defend and enhance the viability of legitimate e-mail marketing. These practices can be found at http://www.ana.net/govt/what/10_14_03.cfm.
About the AAAA
The American Association of Advertising Agencies is the national trade association of the advertising agency business. The 1,225 member agency offices it serves in the U.S. employ 65,000 people, offer a wide range of marketing communications services, and place 75 percent of all national advertising. The management-oriented association helps its members build their businesses, and acts as the industry's spokesman with government, media, and the public sector. For more information visit www.aaaa.org.
About the ANA
The ANA's mission is to be the Center of Excellence for Marketing - to provide industry leadership and proprietary resources that enable members to build brands, improve marketing productivity and drive business results. Access to ANA's best practices, peer-to-peer network and industry leadership enable corporate marketers to: strengthen brand management, strategic planning and execution; control costs, streamline processes, and create efficiencies; optimize media management and integrated marketing communications; develop professional marketing talent; shape industry platforms that advance the practice of marketing and promote free markets, free speech, and free choice; and champion the value and power of marketing. The trade association represents 330 companies with 8,000 brands that collectively spend over $100 billion in marketing communications and advertising. For more information visit www.ana.net.
About The DMA
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned economic-impact study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States are projected to have surpassed $1.7 trillion in 2003, including $133 billion in catalog sales and $41 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA’s Web site is www.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.