29 April 1999
Concerning the vote in Plenary on the report of Mrs Oddy on the above proposal (adopted in the Legal Affairs Committee on 22 April), the signatories of this letter wish to urge you to:
- TO VOTE IN FAVOUR of amendment N°38 to Article 7 which proposes the establishment of opt-out registers for electronic mail;
- TO VOTE IN FAVOUR of any amendment which will propose to delete the derogations of Annex II on unsolicited commercial communications and on contractual obligations for consumer contracts.
- TO VOTE AGAINST amendment N° 63 to Article 22.1 which excludes new internet services "comparable" to radio and content, and which have been requested by the recipient, from the scope of the Directive.
The reasons for our request are the following:
Amendment N°38, to Article 7 of the Directive, calls for the establishment of opt-out registers for unsolicited commercial communications by electronic mail. This must be supported because:
it is in conformity with existing EC legislation, e.g. the 1995 Data Protection and 1997 Distance Selling Directives. For direct mail and sales via telephone,business has installed successful opt-out registers in most EU countries (some since the 1970s) to address consumer concerns in this field; an opt-out register for electronic mail (as proposed in Mrs Oddy’s report) where consumers can enlist, on-line, free of charge, will become operable on a world-wide basis this year. Business is closely co-operating with Internet Service Providers to publicise widely this initiative.
The derogation in Annex II for unsolicited commercial communications should be deleted (this view has also been expressed by the Economic Affairs and Culture Committees) to ensure legal consistency and to avoid provisions which can only benefit unscrupulous merchants. Indeed, the above-mentioned amendment to Article 7 will fail to reach its full potential if it is not accompanied by the deletion of this derogation. As Mrs Oddy rightly said in her explanatory memorandum "the effectiveness of this provision would be enhanced if the necessary controls were carried out by the country in which the service provider is established".
The derogation in Annex II for contractual obligations in consumer contracts should also be deleted. Although she ultimately proposes merely to restrict the scope of the derogation, Mrs Oddy acknowledges that this derogation is not legally consistent and is unnecessary, because a vast body of effective legislation already exists in the EU to protect consumers in this respect, and international private law governs consumer contracts. We fully share Mrs Oddy’s reasoning.
Amendment N° 63 to Article 22. 1 proposes that new internet services "comparable" to radio and content and which are provided electronically by broadcasting technology are excluded from the scope of the E-commerce Directive. This must be opposed, because: the exclusion from the scope of the E-commerce Directive of services which are individually requested by the recipient will be inconsistent with the rationale of adopted Community legislation such as the Television Without Frontiers and the Conditional Access Directives, where a clear distinction has been made between television services (multipoint to point) and services requested by the recipient (point-to-point). Excluding the latter will therefore create a legal vacuum because they would neither be covered by the Television Without Frontiers Directive nor by the proposed E-commerce Directive. A clear and sensible Directive will contribute greatly to the legal security of business and consumers as well as to the definition of the EU’s role in setting up a world-wide legal framework for electronic commerce.
Thank you very much for your support
EAT-European Advertising Tripartite
Tel: +32 2 779 2130 Fax: + 32 2 772 89 80
EGTA-European Group of Television Advertising
Tel: +32 2 286 91 22 Fax: +32 2 286 91 24
EPC-European Publishers’ Council
Tel: +322 231 1299 Fax: +44 (0)1865 310 739
Tel: +32 2 230 58 74 Fax: +32 2 230 00 78
FEDMA-Federation of European Direct Marketing
Tel: +32 2 778 99 20 Fax: +32 2 778 99 24
WFA-World Federation of Advertisers
Tel: +32 2 502 57 40 Fax: +32 2 502 56 66
EAAA-European Association of Advertising Agencies
Tel: +32-2-280-16-03 Fax: 230 09 66
Tel: +32-2-477-17-99 Fax:32-2- 478 91 65
* The country of origin principle is not favoured by an important minority of members from Germany (BAG, BFS, HDE). Belgium (FEDIS) and France (FCD) want free choice of applicable legislation.