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A mass fax, also known as fax broadcasting or fax blasting, is a single fax sent to multiple recipients at the same time. Any fax simultaneously sent to two or more recipients can be referred to as a mass fax. Typically, however, the term refers to the practice of sending faxes to numerous recipients as part of a marketing campaign. Businesses, charitable organizations, and solo professionals often use software or fax broadcasting services to send a single fax to a list of recipients, usually in an effort to solicit business, to ask for donations, or to announce events.
With the influx of technological advances in mass communication, the need for mass fax capabilities has dwindled. Instead, many advertisers, businesses, and other organizations opt to use email and other forms of technology to communicate simultaneously with numerous entities and individuals. As such, services, software, and other concepts associated with fax broadcasting have become synonymous with illegal or nuisance marketing tactics. The terms mass fax, fax broadcasting, and fax blasting have developed a negative connotation as a direct result of nuisance marketing and junk fax transmissions.
In many jurisdictions, a mass fax is considered illegal if it is related to advertising a product, service, or company and is unsolicited by recipients. What specifically constitutes an unsolicited mass fax varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Furthermore, not all jurisdictions have laws regulating fax broadcasting.
Not all mass fax transmissions are illegal, even in jurisdictions with broadcast fax regulations. For example, a business can send an interoffice memo via fax to several satellite offices at the same time. Fax broadcasting, whether through a contact list stored on a fax machine or through fax broadcasting services or software, can facilitate simultaneous communications in a variety of appropriate, useful settings. Vendors, for example, can send an informational fax to current customers regarding monthly specials or sales initiatives. Under most junk fax laws, such broadcast faxes are allowed, although some jurisdictions forbid any advertising or marketing collateral sent by mass fax.
So-called junk faxes are regulated by legislation such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in the United States and the Fax Marketing Industry Standard in Australia. Laws regulate how, when, and to whom advertising faxes can be sent, as well as any information that must be contained in the fax. Many jurisdictions require full disclosure of the sender's identity, complete contact information, and opt-out information for those who do not wish to receive further communications. Additionally, some jurisdictional regulations require an existing business relationship with recipients, as well as outlining what constitutes an existing relationship.
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