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FTC Approves New Rules for CAN-SPAM Act

The Federal Trade Commission has approved four new rule provisions under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM or...
May 20, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission has approved four new rule provisions under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM or the Act). The provisions are intended to clarify the Act's requirements. The provisions and the Commission's Statement of Basis and Purpose (SBP) will be published in the Federal Register shortly. The new rule provisions address four topics:

  1. An e-mail recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mail from a sender;
  2. The definition of "sender" was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act's opt-out requirements;
  3. A "sender" of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under United States Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act's requirement that a commercial e-mail display a "valid physical postal address"; and
  4. A definition of the term "person" was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM's obligations are not limited to natural persons.

What It Means to Agents:  PIA is preparing a more detailed review for PIA leaders. However, the four main subjects of the additional (or clarification) rules, generally, should not be an issue for PIA members. Insurance laws and regulations already do not permit an insurance person to charge their customers per the form of communication method a consumer might select.  PIA members already know that under insurance law, both their P.O. Box and agency street address are treated as one and the same entity for compliance purposes. And PIA has always assumed that the word "person" in any law, regulation or rule applies to individuals as well as business entities, just as it does under insurance law.

Filed under:
PIA National Contact

Jon Gentile
Director of Federal Affairs
jonge@pianet.org
(703) 518-1365

Patricia A. Borowski
Sr. VP, Government/Regulatory Affairs
patbo@pianet.org
(703) 518-1360