The effective date of Maine’s "Act to Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors" (the "Act"), September 12, 2009 is quickly approaching. The Act continues to be a large source of concern for businesses and marketers.
The Act prohibits knowingly collecting health related information or personal information for marketing purposes from a minor without parental consent. Although "minor" is not defined within the Act, based on other Maine statutory provisions presumably this means anyone under 18. The Act defines "personal information" as individually identifiable information, such as a minor’s name, address, social security number, or driver’s license number. However, as written there are inconsistencies in the Act. A later provision prohibits using that information for marketing purposes even if marketers obtain parental consent.
Based on the breadth of the Act and its potential application to email, direct mail, and text marketing, it will affect businesses and marketers outside of Maine as well as in Maine. Additionally, the Act provides a private right of action, so violations of the Act could result in a serious consequence.
Speculation has grown as the effective date approaches that the law will be challenged. For now, however, businesses and marketers should consider what steps they should and can take in order to comply with the Act.