CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

The CAN-SPAM Law, also known as the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003 (Public Law No. 108-187), was signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 16, 2003. This legislation aims to regulate commercial email messages and prevent unsolicited and deceptive practices commonly referred to as “spam.” It grants the U.S. Federal Trade Commission the authority to enforce the law’s standards. Despite the perception that the law may not effectively combat unwanted emails, as a sender, you are still obligated to comply. Violations can lead to significant fines. However, adhering to CAN-SPAM Law is relatively straightforward if you follow these key rules:

  1. Use accurate and truthful email header information, including the “From,” “To,” and “Reply-To” fields, as well as the domain name and email address.
  2. Ensure that your email subject lines accurately reflect the content and do not deceive recipients.
  3. Clearly identify the email as an advertisement, possibly with a “brought to you by” note at the end.
  4. Provide a physical postal address in your email for recipients to contact you.
  5. Include clear and conspicuous instructions on how recipients can opt-out of receiving future emails, making it easy for them to understand and execute.
  6. Promptly and honorably process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after sending the email, and ensure compliance within ten business days.
  7. Do not charge fees or request personally identifying information beyond the recipient’s email address for opting out.
  8. After recipients opt out, refrain from selling, renting, or transferring their email addresses, except when hiring a third-party company to help with CAN-SPAM Law compliance.
  9. Monitor the actions of others on your behalf, as you remain legally responsible for any email marketing activities conducted on behalf of your company, including affiliate marketing programs.
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