FTC seeks comment on rulemaking proposal for CAN-SPAM Act

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By Carol Krol
May 12, 2005
Washington, D.C.—The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday published a 30-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, according to American Business Media through David Straus, a partner at Thompson Coburn, and ABM’s Washington counsel.

The order proposes a series of new CAN-SPAM regulations. It covers, among other things, the definition of "sender" and what to do when there are multiple senders, shortening the time period to comply with opt-outs to only three business days, "forward to a friend" programs and the breadth of the "transactional and relationship message" exemption from most of the act’s requirements.

Comments are requested, and are due to be filed at the Federal Trade Commission by June 27. ABM will file comments, as it has in the past, Straus said, but he added, he encourages input from individual companies as well. "Repetition never hurts," Straus said.

"While we didn’t get our way on all of the issues on which we submitted comments, we did get consideration, and our comments are cited throughout the notice," he said.

One sticking point is that many associations, including ABM, asked the FTC to rule that e-mail communications sent by associations to members, even if "commercial" (e.g., promoting a publication or seminar), should be considered "transactional or relationship" messages. The FTC refused to do so, stating that if the primary purpose is commercial, the association must comply with the restrictions on such messages. "It’s disappointing," Straus said.

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