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.