CAN-SPAM Cooked? Results are in on the FTC’s Review of the Federal Email Law

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February 14, 2019

Email Law

In June, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) sought public comment on the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (“CAN-SPAM”). At that time, it had been nearly 15 years since the passage of CAN-SPAM and the FTC was seeking public opinion on the costs, benefits, and regulatory impact that the email law had on consumers, and whether it should be modified in any way.

What were the results of the public comment exercise? 

The FTC had sought comment on whether the period for processing opt-out requests should be shortened from 10-business days, whether the category of what constitutes “transactional or relationship messages” should be expanded, and whether the FTC should specify and include any additional activities or practices that could be considered aggravated CAN-SPAM violations. On February 12, 2019, the FTC announced that after receiving and evaluating 92 comments, it had voted 5-0 in favor of keeping the email law as it presently exists, without change.

Federal Email Law – Protect Yourself 

CAN-SPAM was signed into law in 2003, to establish standards for the transmission of commercial email messages. In general, the email law requires senders of commercial email to display accurate email header and subject lines, identify the messages as advertisements, include valid physical postal addresses, and provide recipients with the ability to opt-out of the receipt of future commercial email communications (such opt-out requests must be processed within 10-business days of receipt).

When initiating an email marketing campaign, businesses should observe certain best practices in order to minimize the risk of liability under CAN-SPAM and its state email law equivalents. Working with experienced email marketing counsel prior to commencing any marketing campaign can reduce your risk of exposure to regulatory investigation and expensive litigation. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, or if you have been served with process concerning your email marketing practices, please email us at or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

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