Email Spam Lawyer Helping Businesses Stay Compliant
Spam lawyers help businesses navigate the CAN-SPAM Act with their commercial email campaigns. CAN-SPAM is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and is concerned with interstate commerce. Understanding this law and how to avoid liability is critical for any business with an email marketing campaign.
State Anti-Spam Laws
A majority of states also have laws regulating spam. However, most aspects of state laws are preempted by the CAN-SPAM Act. The federal CAN-SPAM Act preempts any state laws expressly regulating commercial e-mail messages, except to the extent that these laws generally prohibit false or deceptive acts or practices (such as states’ general consumer protection laws). The Act does not preempt state laws that are not specific to e-mail, including trespass, contract, or tort law, or related to fraudulent or deceptive acts or computer crimes.
Most state anti-spam laws prohibit misrepresenting or falsifying the origin of or the routing information on messages (i.e. using an IP address or domain name of a third party without permission), including misleading information in the subject line of an email message or in sender contact information. Some states target and restrict unsolicited “bulk” e-mails and/or prohibit the sale or distribution of software that is designed solely to falsify or forge the point of origin of or the routing information on e-mails.
The CAN-SPAM act preempts most state laws dealing expressly with emails. So, follow the Act faithfully and avoid any kind of false or deceptive email content or email practices altogether or unauthorized use of a computer or computer network. Remember, any deceptive practices will also be generally illegal under federal and state consumer protection statutes regardless of whether such practices involve sending emails.
Anti-Bulk Email Laws
Some state laws against sending bulk emails are questionable at best and likely unconstitutional. In Jaynes vs. Commonwealth of Virginia (2008), the Supreme Court of Virginia held that Virginia’s restrictions against sending bulk emails is unconstitutionally overbroad because it prohibits the anonymous transmission of all unsolicited bulk e-mails including those containing political, religious or other speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
An anti-spam policy should be used on websites regarding email marketing policies. Stating opt-out policies and intent to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act at all times (and state laws) is suggested. Website visitors should understand that they are free to unsubscribe to any newsletter, promotion or other email they may have previously signed up for. Contact information and a procedure for making any complaints about spam to website operators should exist. Website visitors should also be restricted from using any information collected from the website to send any unsolicited emails. Finally, depending on a website’s given activities, website operators should include spam restrictions applicable to your website users.