What is Email Law?
Email law regulates the actions businesses may and may not take when sending out commercial email. The national law regarding commercial email is the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which regulates unsolicited commercial email and puts procedures into place to ensure that businesses send only non-deceptive marketing emails and protect consumers from misuse of commercial emails. The CAN-SPAM Act requires email senders to clearly mark ads, gives consumers the ability to opt-out of receiving further marketing emails from the sender. There are also a number of state laws regulating commercial email, many of which are rendered unenforceable in whole or in part (that is, they are pre-empted) by the CAN-SPAM Act.
Common Types of Representation
Many companies use email disclaimers to help protect themselves from legal threats when they use email. Disclaimers inform readers that the email is an advertisement and give them contact information for the business in case the reader has questions or wants to opt out of further emails. Emails must also contain appropriate and non-deceptive headers. People who are on the receiving end of emails that don’t follow regulations may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and, in limited cases, file a lawsuit.
FAQ about Email Law
1. Who is Covered?
Anyone who sends a commercial email must follow email law. Emails between people who have a business relationship may exempt from certain requirements. For example, an email stating that your business shipped an item the customer paid for does not have to follow a significant proportion of commercial email regulations. However, if the message contains both transactional and commercial content, you have to be careful. If the message’s primary purpose is deemed commercial, it is subject to a broader array of regulations.
2. If I hire marketers to write my commercial emails, am I still responsible for infractions of email law?
Yes. The company that sends the email is still responsible for complying with all applicable laws, even if he or she hires or contracts with others to write and/or send emails on its behalf.
3. Am I responsible if someone forwards my marketing email to a friend?
If you offer any type of incentive for forwarding your marketing emails, such as cash rewards, small gifts or coupons, you are responsible for compliance with the law if someone forwards the email. If people forward your emails without any incentive to do so, they are solely responsible.
Why Kavon Adli for Email Law?
Kavon Adli has practiced commercial law since 2000 and is the founder of the Internet Law Group, which he created in 2008 to meet the growing need for representation in e-commerce including email matters. Mr. Adli was a presenter at the Direct Marketing Association’s 2010 Email Evolution Conference in a seminar entitled “Stay Compliant and Protect Your Reputation.” Recent legal developments subject companies that send or advertise in commercial email to expanded forms of liability. Emailers are now the targets of private lawsuits by career plaintiffs and self-proclaimed “anti-spam” attorneys which may carry substantial damages and other monetary penalties. Attorney Adli has experience with both general business law and email law (litigation and legal compliance) and can best advise you as to how to handle an email law dispute or to avoid getting into one in the first place.