Amended Facsimile Rule Takes Effect

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Businesses can continue sending fax advertisements to people with whom they have an established business relationship, with some limitations, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

On April 5, the FCC adopted rules to implement the provisions of the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005. The new rules took effect Aug. 1.

The new rules apply to nonprofit trade associations and small businesses as well as larger companies, the agency said.

The FCC initially adopted a rule in 2003 requiring businesses to obtain written consent for sending unsolicited fax ads. But companies complained that this approach was too harsh.

Under the new rules, businesses must obtain the fax number directly from the recipient or ensure that the recipient voluntarily agreed to make the number available for public distribution. They also must provide a definition of an EBR to be used in the context of sending fax ads.

Unsolicited ads that arrive on U.S. fax machines also must clearly tell recipients how they can opt-out of future transmissions. Fax advertisers then have 30 days to honor the opt-out requests. Senders must provide "clear and conspicuous notice and contact information" on the first page of a fax telling recipients how to opt out of future transmissions, the FCC said.

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