CAN-SPAM Rule Clarification

Recently the FTC clarified a number of rules within CAN-SPAM (pdf).

Here is my understanding of these changes (please note this is not legal advice).

There are two major changes to note within these clarifications:

  • Changes to the definition of a “sender.” The new rule enforces the idea of a single designated sender, for messages with multiple advertisers. The designated sender is defined as the entity in the “From” line of the communication, clarifying the need to have multiple opt-outs within each messages. It also clarifies that only that designated sender need to provide an opt-out link, a valid postal address to satisfying the usual requirements within the Act (ex: subject line, headers, etc).
  • Changes to opt-out requirements. The new rule stipulates the amount of complexity and information needed to be supplied by the recipient during an opt-out request. Most importantly, the opt-out process need only require that the recipient provide only their email address to unsubscribe. The opt-out process must not consist of more than a single webpage or an email reply from the recipient.

Minor Clarifications from the FTC include the following;

  • A P.O. box or private mailbox has been confirmed as acceptable under the “valid postal address” requirement.
  • The definition of “person” has been clarified to include the legal definition of “person,” and expanded to include; corporations, groups, partnerships, nonprofits, and associations.

Author: Matt V - @emailkarma

Matthew Vernhout is a digital messaging industry veteran and Certified International Privacy Professional (Canada) (CIPP/C) with nearly two decades of experience in email marketing. Matthew is 250ok’s Director of Privacy, and he is currently the Vice Chair of the eec, after serving for several years as the Chair of their Advocacy Subcommittee. Matthew was recognized as the 2019 eec thought-leader of the year.

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