Photo Attorney

Apr 26, 2006

Regulations for Commercial Email

Photographers often use email for marketing purposes. But emails that primarily are intended to advertise or promote a commercial product or service are subject to federal legislation referred to as "CAN-SPAM." The Act establishes specific requirements for those commercial emails, so it's important to be aware of the provisions.

The Federal Trade Commission has a summary of the CAN-SPAM regulations HERE.

There are four basic requirements of the Act:

* You may not have false or misleading header information - your "to," "from" and routing information must be accurate.
* You may not have a deceptive subject line - your "subject line" cannot mislead the recipient.
* You must give the recipient a way to opt out of further mailings - such as an email address to send a request for removal.
* Your email must be designated as an advertisement and it must include your physical mailing address.

A "transactional" or "relationship" message - an email regarding an agreed-upon transaction or one that updates your relationship with an existing customer - is not subject to the CAN-SPAM provisions except that it may not contain false or misleading routing information. Other types of emails are exempt from the CAN-SPAM Act.

Violating these provisions may result in fines of up to $11,000. Nevertheless, the requirements of the Act are good business practices to follow, regardless of your email's purpose.

Take my advice; get professional help.