by Victory Design
CAN-SPAM Compliance

Making your E-Mails CAN-SPAM Compliant
The United States Federal Government, in an effort to reduce unsolicited email, introduced the CAN-SPAM Act, formally known as Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003. It officially took effect Jan. 1, 2004. The CAN-SPAM Act permits damages of up to $2 million against companies that violate the provisions of the law. A federal district court can triple damages, to $6 million, if it determines that a violation is willful or meets other conditions.

According to CAN-SPAM legislation, e-mail must meet six basic requirements to avoid being labeled "unsolicited commercial" e-mail:

  1. The e-mail message must have correct and accurate header information. The originating e-mail address, domain name and IP address must be legitimate.
  2. The message must have an accurate subject line.
  3. The return e-mail address must be functional so recipients can opt out of the mailing. The return address must function for no less than 30 days after the transmission of the original message.
  4. Senders must not send e-mail more than 10 business days after receiving a request to be removed from a mailing list.
  5. Commercial e-mail must contain a clear identification that the message is an advertisement, must contain a conspicuous notice of opportunity to decline further e-mail.
  6. The postal address of the sender must be included in commercial e-mail.

The law allows companies to send one unsolicited e-mail, but that e-mail must meet all the other criteria stated above. However, once an e-mail recipient tells the sender not to send further unsolicited e-mail, senders are obliged to comply.

For the complete text of the act Click Here

What the CAN-SPAM law covers

The law applies to unsolicited advertisements and promotional emails as well as many email newsletters:

The term "commercial electronic mail message" means any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service (including content on an Internet website operated for a commercial purpose).

This law pre-empts existing state anti-spam laws. It applies if your business or organization is located within the United States, or if any recipient is within the U.S.

What it doesn't cover

  • Requested email: If recipients have specifically agreed to receive such messages, the requirements above do not apply. The Screaming Bull Systems allows for clients to opt into your mailing lists so you can create a legitimate CAN-SPAM compliant list.
  • Relationship and transactional business email: e.g. email about orders, accounts, ongoing services, and product updates for which the recipient has already paid, is required only to use an accurate sender name and email address, and not falsify the sender IP address
  • Non-commercial email: e.g. email about non-profit and political events
How Systems can keep you CAN-SPAM Compliant helps you avoid legal penalties by:

  1. Giving you the tools and clear instructions how to make your emails CAN-SPAM compliant.
  2. Handling Unsubscribes: Recipients can click the unsubscribe link that is automatically appended at the bottom of email correspondence as well the emails will not be sent unless a valid return email address is included.
  3. lets you automatically append your postal mailing address to outgoing messages, to comply with the new law.