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What is the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003? 

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The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that was passed in 2003.  It is meant to reduce the amount and deceptiveness of unsolicited emails that are sent to people by firms.  There are many who feel that the act has not really done much to prevent people from getting a great deal of deceptive “spam” email.

This law’s provisions require businesses to take steps to ensure that the email solicitations that they sent out are not deceptive.  The businesses need to do such things as:

  • Using their true names and email addresses.  They have to use “from” lines that accurately state who they are and they must not mask their email addresses.
  • Giving their actual physical addresses.  As with the previous requirement, this is meant to ensure that businesses are accurately stating who they are.
  • Give accurate subject lines.  Subject lines must tell what the message is about.
  • Stating clearly that the message is an advertisement.  In other words, they should not try to pretend they are a message from a friend or anything other than what they really are.
  • Provide and honor opt-outs.  Firms must provide a way for recipients to stop getting emails from them and they must honor these requests in a timely fashion.


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