Many jurisdictions have criminalized the harvesting of email addresses from websites. While the exact law that applies to you will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, any harvester runs the risk of serious legal liability for plying their trade. For example, the CAN-SPAM Act regulates the sending of unsolicited commercial email messages. While CAN-SPAM has been criticized as generally weak on spammers, one area where it is clear is in the prohibition against harvesting. Specifically, the law defines every message sent to a harvested address as "spam" and imposes potential liability on the sender. This is regardless of whether the sender complies with the law's other requirements. In other words, including an opt-out link and following the Act's notice regulations is not enough to spare bulk mailers sending to harvested addresses from liability. The implication of this is not only important for harvesters, it is also important for legitimate bulk email senders who do not sufficiently check their mailing lists for harvested addresses. These bulk senders may face liability under the law even if they are not themselves harvesting addresses.
We do not harvest emails for our marketing... we occassionally purchase targeted lists of opt in subscribers who claim they wish to receive marketing messages surrounding a given subject. We also use an anti-SPAM compliant means of marketing to further limit our impact on the web environment, to the best of our abilities. If you believe your eMail address has been harvested because you received an eMail from us; please let us know so we can inform the supplier in order to remedy the situation, or if need be - find a new supplier !