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What You Need to Know About the "CAN-SPAM" Law
An Indispensable Review

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) was signed into law by President Bush in December, 2003, and became effective January 1, 2004.

Although this law is often portrayed as a white knight that will save us from dastardly e-mail spammers and pornographers, many of its provisions cover all commercial e-mail, even permission-based, opt-in e-mail. It is also applicable to B2B e-mail communications and one-to-one commercial e-mail messages such as e-mail from sales representatives to physicians.

Consequently, all e-mail sent by or initiated by pharmaceutical marketers as well as sales personnel -- including newsletters, product announcements, compliance messages, event announcements, edetailing messages, etc. -- may be subject to this law.

This review of the law and opinions from experts -- including an attorney form the FTC, a privacy officer from a major pharmaceutical company, and several e-mail and direct marketers -- is indispensable for any marketer using e-mail.

The article includes:

  • a summary of the major provisions of the law,
  • analysis of major issues, including how to handle opt outs,
  • implications for pharmaceutical e-mail marketers based upon interviews with several experts

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Issue: Vol. 3, No. 1: January 2004
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