I purchased a database of bulk emails. Now, planning to make some profit from it. Can I use Gmail as my marketing mail id and send advertisements? Is this Legal?
Regulation 22 of The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 forbids unsolicited marketing through digital mail in the United Kingdom at least.
Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes 22.—(1) This regulation applies to the transmission of unsolicited communications by means of electronic mail to individual subscribers. (2) Except in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3), a person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail unless the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communications being sent by, or at the instigation of, the sender. (3) A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where— (a)that person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient; (b)the direct marketing is in respect of that person’s similar products and services only; and (c)the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and, where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication. (4) A subscriber shall not permit his line to be used in contravention of paragraph (2).
As far as I know ("AFAIK"), in the US, there is CAN-SPAM Act 2006 which doesn't really like unsolicited emails.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, but I have studied the telecomunication laws of europe.
This can be quite illegal, and it matters not that you want to youse g-mail, it matters where your adressees live, because that is where they will sue you:
In Germany, §7 "Gesetz gegen unlauteren Wettbewerb" (Law against unethical competition) declares that advertisement E-mails, just like any other personal contact information, are illegal as unethetical competition without the express permission for this. This permission can not be acquired from a third party. If someone feels particularily annoyed or has any expenses (like downloading your mail via phone) he can sue you personally for compensations. Should your ad not be obviously advertisement, you are further liable under §6 Telemediengesetz ("Law about telecomunication media). Should your advertisement even contain any malware, you are additionally liable for any damage this generates.
Austria has §107 TeleKommunikationsGesets (telecommunication Law) limits allowable advertisement mails radically: you may only send them to companies without express permission of the user. Acquiring the mail adresses without this, makes it illegal. Sending a mail to acquire this, is also illegal. Fines: up to 37000€ per case plus ca 2000 for no proper impressum and another 3000 for not declaring the mail as advertisement.
Actually, in the whole EU the use of personal data for any reason demands express permission of the owner. This inludes advertisement mails, which demand express permission to be allowable.
The Swiss expressly forbids sending unwanted advertisement mails under their Fernmeldegesetz (~telecommunication law), it is ALSO forbidden to order this. The telecommunication providers are obligated to give people that want to sue for these reasons the personal information of the sender.
Australia has the service SpamMatters, which people can send Spam-mails to. If enough people alert a mail as spam, the Australian telecomunication office ACMA will identify you and start legal matters.
The US has the CAN-SPAM-Act, which illegalizes sending unsocialised advertisements. You may NOT send a mail if any of the following is true:
- it has no opt-out
- the email was gained by 'harvesting'
- contains a header not matching the text
- contains less than one sentence
- the adressee does not have any relation to you
Advertisement mail with bought email adresses and without the direct permission of the adressee will put you to a legal challenge that you engage in illegal activities.