The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has elected to retain its CAN-SPAM Rule in its present form without changes. The CAN-SPAM Rule implements the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003. This body of law sets standards for “commercial” email, gives recipients the right to have you stop sending certain emails to them, and imposes steep penalties for violations. Penalties are presently as high as $41,484 per non-compliant email.
“Commercial” emails are “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. Marketing emails commonly fall within this category. Among its requirements for commercial emails, the CAN-SPAM Rule tells senders how to appropriately provide an opt out or unsubscribe option from future commercial emails.
On February 12, 2019, the FTC announced that following its solicitation of public comment on the CAN-SPAM Rule, no changes are needed to the Rule at this time. The FTC invited public comment in 2017 on a number of aspects of the Rule, including whether changes in technology may bear on the Rule. The FTC reports it received 92 public comments “overwhelmingly” in support of keeping the Rule. This FTC review of the CAN-SPAM Rule was part of the FTC’s periodic review of its body of rules. The FTC’s confirmation of the CAN-SPAM Rule will be published in the Federal Register in due course.
Nadia Aram is a licensing, advertising and privacy attorney. She regularly counsels advertisers and their agencies on compliance with the CAN-SPAM Rule.