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For Release: May 12, 2008

FTC Approves New Rule Provision Under The CAN-SPAM Act

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:

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.

The new rule provisions and SBP are a follow-up to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on these and other CAN-SPAM topics that the Commission published on May 12, 2005 and March 11, 2004, respectively. The Commission received 152 comments and suggestions on the NPRM and 13,517 comments and suggestions on the ANPR from representatives of a broad spectrum of the online commerce industry, trade associations, individual consumers, and consumer and privacy advocates. The new rule provisions and SBP are based on these comments and suggestions as well as the Commission's law enforcement experience.

The Commission vote to approve the Federal Register Notice was 4-0.

Copies of the Federal Register Notice are available from the FTC's Web site at and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center , Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. , Washington , D.C. 20580 . The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at . The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Project No. R411008” Comments due June 27, 2005  
Agency Seeks Comment on Definitions and Substantive Provisions Under the CAN-SPAM Act

For Release: May 12, 2005

The Federal Trade Commission published a Federal Register notice today seeking public comment on certain definitions and substantive provisions under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM or the Act).

In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the Commission proposes rule provisions on five topics: (1) defining the term “person,” a term used repeatedly throughout the Act but not defined there; (2) modifying the definition of “sender” to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message will be responsible for complying with the Act’s “opt-out” requirements; (3) clarifying that Post Office boxes and private mailboxes established pursuant to United States Postal Service regulations constitute "valid physical postal addresses" within the meaning of the Act; (4) shortening from ten days to three the time a sender may take before honoring a recipient's opt-out request; and (5) clarifying that to submit a valid opt-out request, a 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.

. . . . .

The NPRM also addresses a number of other topics that were raised in comments responding to the ANPR, although those topics are not the subject of any proposed rule provisions. These include: CAN-SPAM’s definition of “transactional or relationship message;” the Commission’s views on how CAN-SPAM applies to certain email marketing practices, including “forward-to-a-friend” e-mail marketing campaigns; and the Commission’s determination not to designate additional “aggravated violations” under section 7704(c)(2) of the Act.


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