E-Marketing and the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003


With the proliferation of email and other electronic forms of communication, many businesses now employ e-marketing techniques to advertise their businesses to clients and non-clients alike. While such marketing techniques certainly have their advantages, it is important to be aware of the laws that govern electronic marketing, including marketing through the use of e-newsletters, e-mail advertisements or even forward-to-a-friend emails. Failure to do so could result in your businesses advertisement being considered spam and subject your business to liability.

On December 16, 2003, President Bush signed into law the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 ("CAN-SPAM Act"). The CAN-SPAM Act, which took effect on January 1, 2004, imposed a series of new requirements on the use of commercial electronic mail messages. On May 12, 2008, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") issued new enforceable implementing regulations that say how the FTC will be enforcing the Act.

Most of the CAN-SPAM Act's requirements apply to an email only if it is a commercial electronic mail message.

Although unsolicited Commercial Email is still legal under the new federal law, there are five basic rules under the CAN-SPAM Act that businesses must follow to ensure outbound marketing messages are in compliance.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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