FTC Releases new CAN-SPAM regulations

Well, we’ve been waiting for years and the FTC has finally released updated regulations to CAN-SPAM in response to many questions that have come up over the years.

From their press release:

The Federal Trade Commission has approved four new rule provisions under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM or the Act). The provisions are intended to clarify the Act’s requirements. The provisions and the Commission’s Statement of Basis and Purpose (SBP) will be published in the Federal Register shortly.
The new rule provisions address four topics: (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.

In addition, the SBP accompanying the final rule also addresses a number of topics that are not the subject of any new rule provisions. These include: CAN-SPAM’s definition of “transactional or relationship message”; the Commission’s decision not to alter the length of time a “sender” of commercial e-mail has to honor an opt-out request; the Commission’s determination not to designate additional “aggravated violations” under the Act; and the Commission’s views on how CAN-SPAM applies to forward-to-a-“friend” e-mail marketing campaigns, in which someone either receives a commercial e-mail message and forwards the e-mail to another person, or uses a Web-based mechanism to forward a link to or copy of a Web page to another person. The SBP explains that, as a general matter, if the seller offers something of value in exchange for forwarding a commercial message, the seller must comply with the Act’s requirements, such as honoring opt-out requests.

You can get the full regulations from the FTC website.

What do you think about the regs?


2 Responses to “FTC Releases new CAN-SPAM regulations”

  1. Dennis Dayman
    May 15, 2008 at 10:05 am #

    I hate the fact the FTC allowed for PO Boxes. I think that give spammers another excuse to hide and then say they are Can-Spam compliant

  2. Joshua Baer
    May 15, 2008 at 3:26 pm #

    There are lots of legitimate reasons for using PO Boxes. It would have been very impractical to disallow them. I'm not sure how a PO Box lets you hide – hide from what?