The CAN-SPAM Act is a federal law that regulates spam email. It prohibits business from sending misleading and unwanted advertisements through email. All spam must have an “opt-out” option. Spam email which is sexually explicit must specifically say so in the subject line.
The CAN-SPAM Act overrides state law, except if the state law goes further in prohibiting deceptive email than the CAN-SPAM Act.
Violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is a crime punishable by 3-5 years in a federal prison and confiscation of any real or personal property purchased through spam earnings. The criminal penalties may be increased if the crime is perpetuated by fraudulent activity. Civil penalties can be as high as $250 for each illegal e-mail message, up to a maximum of $2 million.
Certain content is specifically exempted from CAN-SPAM. The federal government cannot prosecute a person who sends spam email which describes: religion, politics or national security.
Existing customers or anyone who has inquired about the product/service are exempted. Businesses which send spam email have ten days to cease sending all material if a person requests not to have any more email sent to the address.
Violating the CAN-SPAM Act has serious consequences. An experienced business lawyer can help you avoid violating the CAN-SPAM Act. If you are facing criminal charges, a criminal defense lawyer can help you prepare a strong defense.