Must Read - The CAN -SPAM ACT 2003

The C
ontrolling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act requires unsolicited commercial e-mail messages to be labeled (though not by a standard method) and to include opt-out instructions and the sender's physical address. It prohibits the use of deceptive subject lines and false headers in such messages. The FTC is authorized (but not required) to establish a "do-not-email" registry. State laws that require labels on unsolicited commercial e-mail or prohibit such messages entirely are pre-empted, although provisions merely addressing falsity and deception would remain in place. The CAN-SPAM Act takes effect on January 1, 2004.

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was introduced by Senators Conrad R. Burns (R-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) in April 2003, with minor changes from the previous year's version, S. 630 (2002). Two other bills ( S. 1231 and S. 1293 ) were subsequently merged into it. The final version was approved by the Senate in November 2003 and by the House of Representatives in December 2003, and was signed into law by President Bush on December 16, 2003.


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This legislation fails in the most important aspect of any anti-spam law in that it neglects to actually tell any marketers not to spam. Instead, it gives each marketer in the United States one free shot at each consumer's e-mail inbox and will force companies to continue to deploy costly and disruptive anti-spam technologies on company time and using company resources to block advertising messages from reaching their employees. It also fails to learn from the experiences of the United States and other countries that have tried "opt-out" legal frameworks, where marketers must be asked to stop to no avail. This bill does not stop a single spam from being sent. It only makes spam slightly more truthful. It also gives a federal stamp of approval to every legitimate marketer in the U.S. to start using unsolicited e-mail as a marketing tool. Congress has listened to the marketers and not to consumers and we have no faith that this law will significantly reduce the amount of spam that American internet users receive.


What does all this mean to us as Bulk Emailers?
Simple. As long as we abide by the laws when sending bulk email (most of us do already) we won't have a problem. This means adding a few things to our emails that keep things on the up and up. It also means that if you forge headers you are taking the risk of running into problems for yourself. Forging headers is changing the information in the header of your email so that it appears as if the email came from somewhere other than where it really came from. Remember: Forging headers is illegal.

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