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S.877 CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 | Public Law 108-187 pdf
Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003
A bill to regulate interstate commerce by imposing limitations and penalties on the transmission of unsolicited commercial electronic mail via the Internet. Sponsor: Sen Burns, Conrad R. [MT] (introduced 4/10/2003), Senate 5/2/03

Codified as

  • 15 USC 7701 et seq (FTC)
  • 18 USC 1037 Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Electronic Mail (DOJ)
  • 47 USC 227(c) (FCC)
  • Legis History in sum: "S. 877 was introduced by Sen. Burns on April 10, 2003.  On October 22, 2003, the measure was agreed to in the Senate with an amendment by a vote of 97 - 0 (Record Vote Number: 404).  On November 22, 2003 (legislative day of November 21) the bill was agreed to by a vote of 392 - 5 (Roll No. 671).  On November 25, 2003, the Senate concurred in the House amendment with an amendment by unanimous consent.  On December 8, 2003, the House agreed to the Senate amendment to the House amendment without objection."

    Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and John Dingell (D-MI), the Committee's ranking member released their versions of the Legislative History on Jan 28

    Hearing on the Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail 2001 (H.R. 95) Before the Senate Communications Subcommittee, Apr. 26, 2001

    149 Cong. Rec. H12186-02

    Cost Estimate "CBO estimates that implementing S. 877 would cost about $1 million in 2004 and about $2 million a year in 2005 and thereafter, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. CBO estimates that civil penalties collected as a result of enacting this bill would increase governmental receipts (revenues) by about $3 million a year when fully implemented (by 2005). The bill also would have additional effects on revenues and direct spending by imposing costs on banking regulators and by creating new criminal penalties. However, CBO estimates that those additional effects would be negligible."  CBO Cost Estimate for S 877

    Supremacy Clause:  Can SPAM Reporedly pre empts state SPAM laws.

    Blacklists: "(c) NO EFFECT ON POLICIES OF PROVIDERS OF INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to have any effect on the lawfulness or unlawfulness, under any other provision of law, of the adoption, implementation, or enforcement by a provider of Internet access service of a policy of declining to transmit, route, relay, handle, or store certain types of electronic mail messages."

    FTC Studies:

  • Do not email registry (authorized but not required)
  • Special labeling of sexually explicit spam
  • Labelling of all spam
  • Bounty system to promote enforcement.
  • Report to Congress due in 2 years
  • Wireless SPAM: Sec. 14 of the Act gives authority to the FCC to do something about SPAM to wireless devices. The FCC must adopt rules implementing the Act within 9 months (end of September 2004).
  • Tim Murris FTC Ask the Whitehouse on the CAN SPAM Act Transcript
  • Fact Sheet: President Bush Signs Anti-Spam Law WhiteHouse  December 16, 2003
  • May 21 9:30 a.m. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation To hold hearings to examine issues related to computer spam. SR-253, Senate 5/19/03
  • S 877 Can Spam Act
  • Whitehouse Statement on S 877 Oct 2003
  • CDT's section-by-section analysis of the CAN-SPAM Act [pdf] (Dec. 2003)
  • CAUSE Disappointment with Can SPAM Act
  • Paul Rushmann Summary of the Can SPAM Act
  • Lyris FAQs re Can Spam Act
  • Who Can I Contact?
    Unsolicited Commercial Email can be sent to the Federal Trade Commission at

    Other Relevant Laws



    Federal Action

  • FTC Definitions and Implementation Under the CAN-SPAM ActPDF, __ Fed Reg __ (____ 2008)
  • FTC 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."
  • FTC Spam Summit July 2007
  • FTC Study Shows Technology Gaining in the Battle Against Spam, FTC 11/29/2005
  • Spam Emails About Hurricane Katrina Charities and News May be Scams, FTC 9/19/2005
  • A Comparative Analysis of Spam Laws: The Quest for a Model Law, ITU 7/29/2005
  • ITU Global Survey of Anti-Spam Laws and Authorities, ITU 8/5/2005
  • FTC Survey Tests Top E-Tailers’ Compliance with Can-Spam’s Opt-Out Provisions, FTC 8/2/2005
  • FTC NIST Email Authentication Summit Nov 2004
  • Sender ID Up for Discussion in D.C., InternetNews 11/9/2004
  • Ownership of Anti-Spam Measure Queried at Talks, Reuters 11/9/2004
  • E-Mail Firms Seek Spam Solution, Wash Post 11/9/2004
  • FTC, NIST to Host Email Authentication Summit, FTC 11/5/2004
  • Experts say spam fight needs to be more strategic, NWFusion 11/3/2004
  • Senate Commerce Committee Can Spam Act Hearing May 20, 2004
  • Feb 17 2004 NIST "Spam Technology"
  • FTC Chairman Calls Spam "One of the Most Daunting Consumer Protection Problems FTC Has Ever Faced", FTC 8/20/03
  • No "Silver Bullet" to Limit Spam, FTC Tells Congress, FTC 5/21/03 The Federal Trade Commission today told Congress that there is no "silver bullet" to solve the problems of increasing volume, increasing costs, and increasing international effects of spam. In testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Commissioners Mozelle W. Thompson and Orson Swindle told the panel "Solving the problem of bulk unsolicited commercial e-mail will likely necessitate an integrated effort involving a variety of technological, legal, and consumer action, rather than one single solution."
  • FTC Publishes Agenda for Three-day Public Spam Workshop, FTC 4/21/03
  • FTC To Host Spam Report Discussion, FTC 4/28/03
  • FTC Measures False Claims Inherent in Random Spam, FTC 4/30/03
  • FTC Obtains Order Barring Pop-up Spam Scam, Urges Consumers to Take Steps to Protect Themselves, FTC 11/7/2003
  • Exploitation of Microsoft Windows “Messenger Service” Causes Consumer Concern, FTC 11/7/2003
  • Deceptive Spammers Settle FTC Charges FTC 10/24/02
  • Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail (Spam) Could Chill Consumer Confidence in Online Commerce: FTC  November 3, 1999
  • Raymond B. Everett, Guerrilla Warfare: A System Administrator's Perspective on Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail, Comments for the FTC Consumer Privacy Hearings 1997
  • Papers



  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Factsheet: Net Based Business Opportunities: Are Some Flop-portunitites?
  • FTC Consumer Alert: 'Net-Based Business Opportunities: Beware of Flop-portunities
  • Internet Crime Complaint Center
  • About ICCC
  • "The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints, research, develop and refer the criminal complaints to law enforcement agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate. The IFCC was intended, and continues to emphasize serving the broader law enforcement community, to include federal, as well as state and local agencies, which are combating Internet crime and in many cases participating in Cyber Crime Task Forces." Internet Crime Complaint Center
  • "The IC3 receives more than 17,000 complaints every month from consumers alone...over 25 percent of all complaints to the IC3 involve some use of spam electronic mail." Senate Commerce Committee Can Spam Act Hearing May 20, 2004  The Testimony of Ms. Jana D. Monroe  Assistant Director, Cyber Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Project SLAM-Spam
  • "The SLAM-Spam initiative has now moved beyond the planning stages, and has begun identifying and packaging investigations from the field. Within the last few months, the Initiative has: · Identified over 100 significant spammers · Targeted 50 Spammers so identified as points of focus for the SLAM-Spam project. · Developed ten primary subject packets developed and for referral to Law Enforcement · Linked three groups of subjects into potential organized criminal enterprises · Referred five significant ongoing investigations linked to spammers. · Over 350 compromised and misconfigured resources identified, including 50 government sites. · Engaged military criminal investigators to help identify criminal acts associated with compromised Government sites. · Identified common denominators relating to spam both domestically and internationally. · Catalogued numerous exploits and techniques being used by spammers, including e-mail harvesting, use of viruses, and turn-key tools to bypass filters. [A sample of these exploits and techniques is attached to the end of this testimony.] Future Initiatives: The FBI, via the IC3, periodically coordinates National Investigative Initiatives, together with our Federal, State, and Local partners. Such initiatives are designed to highlight escalating areas of cyber crime, and demonstrate decisive action taken by law enforcement to combat it. These events also serve to alert the public to new and evolving cyber crime schemes, such as criminal spam. Three such initiatives have been carried out over the last 2 ½ years, including Operation Cyber Loss, Operation E-Con, and most recently Operation Cyber Sweep. A succeeding initiative is being projected for later this year in which it is anticipated that criminal and civil actions under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 will be included. We have begun preliminary notification to our field offices of our newest initiative, underscoring our emphasis on cases involving criminal uses of spam. Such cases may be investigated and prosecuted as computer intrusion matters, or as on-line cyber frauds which may lend themselves to a variety of existing state and/or federal statutes, including the recently passed CAN-SPAM Act. Similar notifications have been or will be made through appropriate channels to the U.S. Secret Service, U.S Postal Inspection Service, the FTC, the Department of Justice, and in the state and local agencies that are members of the National White Collar Crime Center. We are already planning meetings to ensure that this initiative is on track, and to further define the scope and packaging of this activity are being planned. We will be happy to brief you on the results of this initiative when it has been completed." Senate Commerce Committee Can Spam Act Hearing May 20, 2004  The Testimony of Ms. Jana D. Monroe  Assistant Director, Cyber Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • State Governments
  • Louisiana Rev. Stat. §73.6(B) (2003).
  • Rev. Washington Stat. §19.190.010-.050 (amended 1999).
  • Virginia’s anti-spam statute, Va. Code Ann. §18.2-152.3:1
  • International
  • ITU SPU newslog on spam
  • Japan:
  • The Law on Regulation of Transmission of Specified Electronic Mail enacted July 1, 2002
  • THE FUTURE OF WIRELESS SPAM 2002 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0021
  • Protecting Information and Communications Users
  • Anti-spam Activities in Japan APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group29th Meeting | 21-26 March 2004 | Hong Kong, China pdf
  • The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email
  • Cyberpromotions
  • Composite Blocking List
  • Consumers Union
  • DB Origins of SPAM Weekly SPAM Analysis
  • Fight Spam on the Internet
  • Get that Spammer!
  • Institute for SPAM and Internet Public Policy
  • Internet Research Task Force (IETF & ISOC) Anti Spam WG
  • Monty Python SPAM Skit
  • Transcript
  • My Net Watchman Detection of whether your computer has been compromised
  • National Fraud Information Center
  • Netizens Against Gratuitous Spamming (NAGS)
  • Not Just Another Bogus List
  • Paul Ruschmann Anti-SPAM Laws (good state material)
  • Quantum Communications, Inc.
  • Spam Media Tracker
  • Spam.Anti Page
  • Spamhaus
  • State laws
  • Sue
  • TCS Wireless SPAM Solutions
  • TISPA Spam Information Page
  • Yahoo! Mail, Be a Better Inbox Defender!
  • Books