CAN-SPAM ACT – is an acronym for “Controlling the Assault of Non- Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003."

Are You Informed About Federal Email Laws?

The CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003 was signed into law by President George W. Bush in December of 2003. At the core, it established a national standard for sending commercial email messages. The provisions of the law are enforced by Federal Trade Commission (FTC), visit for the full details of the bill.

The Act is intended to stem the tide of spam, formally known as unsolicited commercial email, which currently floods personal and business email inboxes. This will prohibit the sending of irritating emails you didn't ask for from companies you don't know that are trying to sell products you may not want. It is perceived that the Act takes the opt-out approach, allowing transmission of unsolicited mail until the recipient asks for the mailings to cease.

CAN-SPAM contains requirements that must be met by all marketers regardless of the existence of a prior business relationship with the recipient. Any company sending commercial emails must:

  • Ensure the header of the commercial email (indicating the sending source, destination and routing information) doesn't contain materially false or materially misleading information
  • The emails subject line doesn't contain deceptive information
  • Email message provides "clear and conspicuous" identification that it is an advertisement or solicitation
  • Ensure email includes some type of return email address, which can be used to indicate that the recipient no longer wishes to receive solicitation emails from the sender (i.e. to "opt-out")
  • email message contains a valid, physical postal address
  • Does not use subject headings intended to mislead the recipient into opening the message
  • Use a reply address that will be active for at least thirty days following the transmission of an email message
  • Include clear instructions in the body of the message detailing how to opt-out of subsequent mailings
  • Honor all opt-out requests within ten days and not transfer, sell, lease, or exchange the email address of any recipient that has made an opt-out request

All of the above apply to both solicited and unsolicited commercial emails with one exception. Email sent to recipients at their consent (opt-in newsletters, alerts, etc…) does not need to contain the disclaimer labeling the message as an advertisement or solicitation. Damages under this Act can be reduced if policies and procedures designed to prevent such violations have been established and implemented but proved unsuccessful.

AmeriList has a 100% commitment to compliance, as a legitimate email marketer we only work with compilers and aggregators who are in compliance with all state and federal laws.

*The above is not intended to be legal advice, it’s rather a summary of the CAN-SPAM Act. We suggest you consult your legal counsel with any specific questions you have regarding commercial email solicitations.

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