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Use commercial communications appropriately

Use commercial communications appropriately

University units may send email or faxes or make telephone calls that are commercial in nature. Commercial communications include advertisements or promotions or products or services, including enrollment at the University or membership in a unit-sponsored event. Several federal laws apply to the use of commercial communications and restrict what units may do when contacting people.

Units are encouraged to develop "Conditions of Use" guidelines for their systems. They must also ensure that the guidelines are understood by all users.

Requirements

Units that send commercial communications are responsible for adhering to the following rules.

Email

Commercial email sent by University units must include somewhere each of the following:

  • Identification of the email as an advertisement from your specific unit. It must be clear that the email comes from a sub-part of the University and not from the University as a whole.
  • A valid postal address for your unit.
  • Accurate identification of the sender in the "From" field.
  • A subject line that is consistent with the email's message.
  • Instructions to opt out of future emails from your unit.

A common means of including this information is listing it in a standard signature or footer for use on all unit commercial emails.

Opt-out requests must be handled in the following manner:

  • The request may be sent to a return email address or website.
  • The unit must be able to process opt-outs for 30 days after the commercial email was transmitted.
  • The unit must honor opt-out requests within 10 days after receipt and for an indefinite duration.
  • The unit may not disclose the recipient's email address to a third party.

Faxes

Commercial faxes sent by University units must include:

  • Only recipients who have given prior express invitation or permission to send commercial faxes or have established business relationships (EBRs) with the unit.
    • An EBR customer can receive commercial faxes only if he or she provides consent on an application or form or has contact information published in a directory without noting that unsolicited faxes are not accepted.
  • Instructions to opt out of future faxes from your unit.

The unit must honor opt-out requests from 30 days after receipt.

Telephone calls and text messages

Commercial automated telephone calls or text messages sent by University units must include:

  • Only recipients who have given prior express invitation or permission to send commercial (non-emergency) automated telephone calls or text messages.
    • The unit must be able to prove that it had express consent to make a telephone call to the intended recipient.
    • The unit is liable for any unsolicited automated telephone calls or text messages. The FCC permits one mistaken call or text to a number the unit had reason to believe was held by a consenting recipient but that is no longer held by a consenting recipient. It does not matter whether the call or text was heard or read by the intended recipient.
  • Instructions to opt out of future automated telephone calls or text messages from your unit.

Opt-out requests may be submitted orally or in writing.

External resources

CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Government Publishing Office)
Establishes rules for commercial email distribution.

CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business (FTC)
Summarizes the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and what businesses must do to comply.

Junk Faxes (FCC)
Summarizes the requirements of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Junk Fax Prevention Act as they apply to commercial faxes.

Limited Relief from FCC Ruling on Auto-Dialing/-Texting (EDUCAUSE)
Summarizes the FCC's clarification of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and what businesses are allowed to do in regards to commercial telephone calls.