FCC Amends Junk Fax Rules to Address "Established Business Relationships"

Information Law and Privacy Update

The FCC amended its rules in April 2006 to implement the Junk Fax Prevention Act. The legislation and the FCC rules clarify that unsolicited "facsimile advertisements" may only be sent to businesses or individuals that have provided explicit consent or with whom the sender has an Established Business Relationship, and then, only if the sender provides the recipient an opportunity to opt out of future faxes and obtains recipient fax numbers in one of the specifically permissible ways. The FCC also provided guidance on the types of "transactional" messages that will not be considered advertisements, discussed incidental advertisements within other non-commercial material, and underscored the potential for joint liability between fax "broadcasters" and senders -- the businesses, associations, or individuals on whose behalf the messages are sent.