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No unwanted group mail, please!

A short note about our group email software

You are responsible for any e-mail messages that you send. In some cases sending unsolicited email can be in violation of the law. As group e-mail sending software developers, we are not liable for any damages or violations that might occur as a result of your actions

We retain the right to withhold technical support and other services in the event we receive complaints about your use of our software. We require to not send unsolicited e-mail, hijack mail server relays, publish incorrect or illegal information or perform any other unlawful actions.

CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (as per Wikipedia)

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 signed into law by President Bush on December 16, 2003, establishes the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail and requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce its provisions. The acronym CAN-SPAM derives from the bill’s full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003. The abbreviation is a homonym since the verb can may allude either “to put away” or “to allow”. It also requires the FTC to promulgate rules to shield consumers from unwanted mobile service commercial messages.

The full text of the Can-Spam Act in HTML format you can find here.

The mechanics of CAN-SPAM

Can-Spam defines spam as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service (including content on an Internet website operated for a commercial purpose).” It exempts “transactional or relationship messages.” The FTC has yet to clarify what “primary purpose” means; it has already delayed rule-making for this terminology. Previous state laws had used bulk (a number threshold), content (commercial), or unsolicited to define spam.

The bill permits e-mail marketers to send unsolicited commercial e-mail as long as it contains all of:

  1. an opt-out mechanism;
  2. a valid subject line and header (routing) information;
  3. the legitimate physical address of the mailer; and
  4. a label if the content is adult.

The content is exempt if it consists of:

  1. religious messages;
  2. content that broadly complies with the marketing mechanisms specified in the law; or
  3. national security messages.

If a user opts out, a sender has 10 days to cease sending spam but they are not required to remove the address. The legislation also prohibits the sale or other transfer of an e-mail address after an opt-out request. (However, the only requirement for this opt-out mechanism is that it “must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days”. Some companies have taken this to denigrate opting-out to a 20 day break between spam messages.)

Use of automated means to register for multiple e-mail accounts from which to send spam compound other violations. It prohibits sending sexually-oriented spam without the label later determined by the FTC of SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT. This label replaced the similar state labeling requirements of ADV:ADLT or ADLT.