Can-Spam Act Of 2003

Can-Spam Act Of 2003

The Can Spam Act of 2003 is a name that refers to the United States federal law and has a formal name of S.877. It also has the name of controlling the assault of non solicited pornography and marketing Act of 2003. The legislation’s implementation took effect on 1st of January 2004. The law does not only apply to bulk email. Lee (2005). It has its coverage on all commercial messages. The law makes the definition of such messages as any electronic mail message that has the fundamental purpose of commercial advertisement. Such messages also serve the purpose of promoting a product or service that is commercial. The impact of the legislation on the society is on those businesses that use emails that make promotion of content on websites that are commercial. The provision also has no exemption for business to business email. This includes emails to customers from businesses informing them of new product lines. Such must also comply with this regulation.  Businesses in the society must comply with the provisions of this law such as having clear labeling of commercial email such as advertising. Businesses should also use relevant and honest subject line, as well as a legitimate return-email address. Enterprises and businesses should also provide a valid physical address, as well as working opts out option. They should also process op out requests within a span of ten business days.

Penalties and fines

The Can Spam Act prohibits courts to require damages of up to two million $ for offenders of the law. Federal district courts have the power to send spammers to jail and or triple damages. This is in instances where the courts find the violation to be intentional. Every different email in contradiction of the law is subject to penalties of up to $16,000 and more than one may be held accountable for violations. For instance, both the company that had a promotion of its product and the company did the promotion may be legally guilty.

Effectiveness of the law

Proponents of the law make claims that the existing harsh monetary penalties will ultimately develop financial disincentive for spammers. They argue that the law is a move towards the right direction with the combination of the national do not spam; list. From another perspective, however, it is next to impossible to impose the legislation since spam is an international problem. The US government may not have the ability to impose punishment on spammers outside its own jurisdiction. Cathy (2008). Internet activities that operate to stop spam make assertions that the act would not have the ability to stop any spam. In contrast, it looks like it provides federal approval to the practice. The coalition against unsolicited commercial email makes claims that the law does not adhere to the key, fundamental test of any anti- spam law. The law does not indeed tell any marketers not to spam.

Ratification of the law

The act establishes requirements for those who use and send commercial email and provides penalties for spammers and companies which advertise their products in spam. The act also provides consumers with the right to demand from those who email that they should refrain from spamming. Ratification should take place on the law so that there is a clear provision that out rightly bans spam. There should also be ratification on the act so as to allow individuals to forward claims. Currently the act does not allow individuals to forward claims. This has an effect on consumers since they do not derive any pleasure from fraudulent email. Huh, (2008).

Challenges of prosecution in Gordon v. Virtumundo Inc case.

This is a 2009 court case in which the United States court of appeal for the ninth circuit was addressing the standing requirements. This had significance for private plaintiffs to forward suit under the controlling assault for non solicited pornography and marketing act of 2003. Gordon was the manager of Omni innovations, which was a self described spam business.  Gordon registered the company for online advertisements, ultimately joining between one hundred and one hundred and fifty email mailing lists. The result was that accounts received numerous spam emails. Some of the spam came from Virtumundo an internet marketing company. In 2006, Gordon sued Virtumundo but lost the case.

Gordon made the argument that the emails infringed the CAN-SPAM Act since they have misguiding headers. One of the challenges that the prosecution had and lost the case was due to pleading deficiencies.  The District court made its ruling in favor of the defense, holding that Gordon did not have standing to convey an action under the CAN-SPAM act. Furthermore, the federal CAN-SPAM Act preempted the claims of Gordon. Another challenge for the prosecution was that it did not have the standing to sue under the CAN-SPAM Act. Prior to forwarding and suing, the prosecution should have made an assessment of whether it qualified as an internet access service provider. This is because it was on this ground that the court came to a ruling that Gordon did not have standing to file a suit under the Act. Corpus (2009).


Lee, Younghwa (June 2005). “The CAN-SPAM Act: A Silver Bullet Solution?”Communications of the ACM. 3, 25-60.

Huh, Soon (2008) Invasion of Privacy v. Commercial Speech: Regulation of Spam with a Comparative Constitutional Point of View. New York.

Cathy (2008) Considerations in Drafting Privacy Policies: London.

Corpus (2009) Constitutional Law: Freedom of Speech and of the Press: Commercial Speech. New York.

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