Definition - What does CAN-SPAM Act mean?

The CAN-SPAM Act is a U.S. law that governs email laws pertaining to e-commerce and businesses. Not only does CAN-SPAM set these laws, but it also develops the requirements for commercial emailing. It is primarily known for boundary establishment of e-commerce, such that email recipients have the right to stop receiving emails, and it divulges clear and strict penalties should emails not cease upon the recipient's request. The CAN-SPAM Act encompasses all areas of email messages, including those promoting commercial website content. The law makes no exception for business-to-business (B2B) emails.

Techopedia explains CAN-SPAM Act

The U.S. CAN-SPAM Act is short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003. It was implemented to set standards for commercial emailing, often called "spam."

According to the law, subject lines must be clear and accurately reflect email content. In addition, email marketing messages must be identified as electronic advertisements and identify the sender's location. The CAN-SPAM Act dictates that e-commerce emails must also inform recipients about how to opt out of future electronic advertising messages. Adherence to opt-out requests must occur in a timely fashion, such as 24 hours or a few business days. Opt-out fees cannot be imposed, and if an e-commerce company hires a contractor to handle online advertising or marketing, it must follow up with these companies and monitor them to ensure they are abiding to the CAN-SPAM Act. This is to the contracting company's benefit because the company is liable for all CAN-SPAM violations.

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