FCC Aims to Refine Fax Rules

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The Federal Communications Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking Friday involving unsolicited commercial faxes.

The Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005, signed July 9 by President Bush, creates an existing business relationship exemption for commercial faxes, ensuring that companies and organizations don't need written permission to send faxes to members and past customers.

The FCC is looking to narrow the definitions of those EBR exemptions in the fax environment as well as to craft protections allowing receivers to submit "do-not-fax" requests, which are similar to the do-not-call program for telemarketers.

The act requires the FCC to issue regulations to implement the act's provisions no later than April 5, 2006. The commission is seeking comment on how best to implement the provisions.

The FCC on Friday also delayed the effective date of the requirement that a sender of facsimile ads obtain prior written permission from the recipient, currently scheduled to take effect Jan. 9.

More specifically, the act:

* Codifies an EBR exemption to the prohibition on sending unsolicited facsimile ads.

* Defines an established business relationship for the context of unsolicited fax ads.

* Requires the sender of a fax ad to provide specified notice and contact information on the facsimile that lets recipients opt out of future facsimile transmissions from the sender.

* Specifies the circumstances under which a request to opt out complies with the act.

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