Are your emails for real? Think CAN-SPAM before sending batch emails!


Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “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. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all emails – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.

Congress signed the “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003” (“CAN-SPAM”) into law in January 2004. The purpose of CAN-SPAM is to provide relief from unwanted spam e-mail messages. The law covers both unsolicited e-mails, as well as electronic communications where the recipient has initiated the exchange.

Non-compliance with CAN-SPAM constitutes “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” that may result in both criminal and civil penalties.

Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $43,280, so non-compliance can be costly. But following the law isn’t complicated.

Click on the link below for a rundown of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements from the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’s website :


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