Spamming illegal in Israel from December 1

Consumers receiving ads without their prior written consent can sue the spammer.

Israel's anti-spam law - Amendment 40 to the Communications Law (Telecommunications and Broadcasting) 5742-1982 - will come into effect on December 1, banning advertising by e-mail, fax, or telephone text messaging without the prior written consent of the recipient. Courts will have the right to order spammers to pay compensation of NIS 1,000, regardless of any damage caused, for each piece of spam sent, until they stop.

In extreme cases, the law allows for fines of up to NIS 200,000. If an addressee withdraws his or her consent to receive spam, but the spammer persists in sending it, the fine is NIS 67,000.

Adv. Shahar Welner of the Altshuler Welner law firm and editor of Psakdin Websites Ltd. said, "The deterrent does not come from the state, but from the consumer. This means that a consumer can sue the advertiser in small claims court. The law assumes that the need to obtain consumers' prior written consent will reduce, if not eliminate, spamming."

The anti-spam law stipulates that if a person provides his or her details to an advertiser, such as when buying a product or service, or during negotiations for such a purchase, and the advertiser explains to the consumer that his details will be used for the sending of advertisements, this is not a violation of the law.

The anti-spam law does not apply to telephone calls or personal approaches to an anonymous consumer on the basis of his or her categorization, but the law does apply to recordings by mass automatic dialing.

The law also does not apply to political messages. Therefore, mass automatic telephone calls to people's homes ahead of the upcoming elections will be perfectly legal.

Opponents of the anti-spam law include small business owners, who claim that the law will ruin their ability to market products to potential consumers. Comline CEO Adi Plout says that the law is "populist and aimed at serving big businesses with large budgets for advertising via permitted channels." Comline represents several small companies.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on November 25, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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