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Spam

CANSPAM does not make spam -- the sending of unsolicited emails -- illegal. It does have some specific requirements for commercial emails. The new law covers all email for which the primary purpose is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a product or service.

The law excludes emails related to transactional relationships such as billing statements, announcements of warranty information, follow-ups to customer requests, etc. The bill covers all commercial email solicitations, both solicited and unsolicited.

The key rules you must follow to send legal email marketing messages are:

  • include your full address within every email message

  • Subject lines must be descriptive in nature about the content of the email.

  • There are specific civil penalties about the use of deceptive subject lines. Subject lines such as “news for a friend” would be considered misleading.

  • the from line should be from you or your business and not a sales pitch or marketing message

  • Use a reply address that will be active for at least thirty days after sending your email.

  • A conspicuously displayed unsubscribe link must be included within every email

  • Any unsubscribe requests must be honored within ten days

  • In the case of unsolicited email, the marketer must label the email as an advertisement. You may use the letters ADV in the subject line but this particular identification is not required.

  • It is now required that a valid physical postal address of the sender be found within all emails under CANSPAM.

Related to sexually oriented email, a message within the subject line or at the top of the email must indicate the email’s sexual nature

The law also specifically bans the practice of harvesting emails through an automated means. This would mean it’s now illegal to obtain email addresses is to by crawling websites. This includes purchasing harvested email addresses from someone else.

The new federal antispam legislation also has several provisions related to the sending of emails with false or misleading headers, deceptive subject lines.