Magic. In the UK its a £5000 fine !!!!!
You were right in posting this. I suspect that most people don't think this through when they are setting off in business and are thinking of sending out to a list they have "obtained".
Basically unless you are sending to opt in people who have given you permission then its a big no no. And buying a list is a very dangerous game, especially the £60 backstreet specials.
Saying that, there are companies in the UK who will sell you a list of hundreds of thousands of names where the receipients have opted in at some point, somewhere.
Short version of EU directive Directive 2002/58 which is law in most EU countries:
Sending spam a criminal offence. Since 11 December 2003, two new rules apply to e-mail marketing and The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 states:
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).
Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes where the identity or address of the sender is concealed
23. A person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, a communication for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail -
(a) where the identity of the person on whose behalf the communication has been sent has been disguised or concealed; or
(b) where a valid address to which the recipient of the communication may send a request that such communications cease has not been provided.
The person you spammed must be someone special. To actually get on the BG no spam list you have to provide:
Application submitted electronically signed by the applicant with an electronic signature.
Mandatory details on the application are:
1. UIC (BULSTAT code);
2. legal form;
4. headquarters and management;
5. mailing address in the country with all state institutions, telephone and fax;
6. e-mail address for correspondence;
7. government and representation;
8. full list of company email addresses and / or domain names to which the entity does not wish to receive unsolicited commercial messages;
9. statement (certificate) for ownership of e-mail address and / or domain;
10. type of entry - the initial registration, change or deletion.