New Rule Provision Under the CAN-SPAM Act
The Enactment of the CAN-SPAM Act
Just when it looked like the spammers had managed to destroy email marketing, things began to take a turn for the better. Technology was developed to nail spam as software designers figured out ways to filter and block spam. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) blocked domains that had a lot of spam on them and then, in 2003, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM Act) was signed into law by then-President George Bush. It became effective in January 2004.
More than a Slap on the Hand
This first step in dealing with email spam targeted American businesses that use email for commercial purposes, spammers and those who hire spammers. It prohibits them from sending emails to people who don't want to receive them and provided guidelines for marketers to adhere to - along with penalties for those who stray from the rules. Violating the CAN-SPAM Act can lead to some pretty serious fines and even jail time and spammers are also made liable for civil damages. It stopped being a laughing matter when this law came into effect. As with all things within laws that are promulgated, they are subject to change or revision so, if you are a business owner it is a good idea to have your legal counsel check out your practices to ensure you are abiding by the rules correctly.
The Main Thrust of CAN-SPAM Act
New Rule Provisions by FTC - 2008
Three years after the CAN-SPAM Act came into effect the Federal Trade Commission approved four new rule provisions that were intended to aid in clarifying the requirements of the Act. There were four topics addressed in the new ruling that were summarized in the FTC News release from May 12, 2008, as follows:
1. an e-mail recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mail from a sender;
2. The definition of "sender" was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act's opt-out requirements;
3. A "sender" of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under United States Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act's requirement that a commercial e-mail display a "valid physical postal address"; and
4. A definition of the term "person" was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM's obligations are not limited to natural persons
The New Rule Provisions came as a result of comments and suggestions garnered by the FTC from representatives of a large spectrum of online commerce industry, trade associations, individual consumers, and consumer and privacy advocates.