It bans false or misleading header information. Your email's "From," "To," and routing information –
including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person who
initiated the email.
It prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or
subject matter of the message.
It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email
address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future
email messages to that email address, and you must honour the requests. You may create a "menu" of choices
to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any
commercial messages from the sender.
Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send
your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending
email to the recipients email address. You cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have
another entity send email on your behalf to that address. Finally, it's illegal for you to sell or transfer the
email addresses of people who choose not to receive your email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless you
transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law.
It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender's valid physical
postal address. Your message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or
solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving more commercial email from you. It also must
include your valid physical postal address.
Each violation of the above provisions is subject to fines of up to $11,000. Deceptive commercial email also
is subject to laws banning false or misleading advertising.
Additional fines are provided for commercial emailers who not only violate the rules described above, but
"harvesting" email addresses from Web sites or Web services that have published a notice prohibiting the
transfer of email addresses for the purpose of sending email
Generate email addresses using a "dictionary attack" – combining names, letters, or numbers into multiple
Use scripts or other automated ways to register for multiple email or user accounts to send commercial
Relay emails through a computer or network without permission – for example, by taking advantage of open
relays or open proxies without authorization.
The law allows the DOJ to seek criminal penalties, including imprisonment, for commercial emailers who do –
or conspire to:
Use another computer without authorization and send commercial email from or through it
Use a computer to relay or retransmit multiple commercial email messages to deceive or mislead recipients or
an Internet access service about the origin of the message
Falsify header information in multiple email messages and initiate the transmission of such messages
Register for multiple email accounts or domain names using information that falsifies the identity of the
Falsely represent themselves as owners of multiple Internet Protocol addresses that are used to send
commercial email messages.
Case #3: Commercial Emailer Fined
Recently, a California court forced an email marketer to pay $2 million in penalties for violating state
anti-spam laws under "false advertising and unfair business practices" rules.
A first, the judgment also substantially
restricts that person's business practices, and the Attorney General will use "injunctive relief"
provisions as a model in future cases.
Specifically, that person is now prohibited from not only sending email or doing business on the Internet at
all, but also accessing and using any computer!
The judgment states that, for 10 years, that person cannot own, manage or hold any economic interest in any
company that advertises or does business over the Internet.
Let's say this person was running a part-time business on the Internet and working in a full-time job. Fact
remains, most jobs these days require the use of computers!
So in addition to coughing up $2,000,000.00 in penalties and fines, that person may well be out of a job for
the next 10 years, too! That's just how serious anti-spam laws really