15 U.S. Code § 7704 - Other protections for users of commercial electronic mail

(a) Requirements for transmission of messages
(1) Prohibition of false or misleading transmission information
It is unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission, to a protected computer, of a commercial electronic mail message, or a transactional or relationship message, that contains, or is accompanied by, header information that is materially false or materially misleading. For purposes of this paragraph—
(A) header information that is technically accurate but includes an originating electronic mail address, domain name, or Internet Protocol address the access to which for purposes of initiating the message was obtained by means of false or fraudulent pretenses or representations shall be considered materially misleading;
(B) a “from” line (the line identifying or purporting to identify a person initiating the message) that accurately identifies any person who initiated the message shall not be considered materially false or materially misleading; and
(C) header information shall be considered materially misleading if it fails to identify accurately a protected computer used to initiate the message because the person initiating the message knowingly uses another protected computer to relay or retransmit the message for purposes of disguising its origin.
(2) Prohibition of deceptive subject headings
It is unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission to a protected computer of a commercial electronic mail message if such person has actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that a subject heading of the message would be likely to mislead a recipient, acting reasonably under the circumstances, about a material fact regarding the contents or subject matter of the message (consistent with the criteria used in enforcement of section 45 of this title).
(3) Inclusion of return address or comparable mechanism in commercial electronic mail
(A) In general
It is unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission to a protected computer of a commercial electronic mail message that does not contain a functioning return electronic mail address or other Internet-based mechanism, clearly and conspicuously displayed, that—
(i) a recipient may use to submit, in a manner specified in the message, a reply electronic mail message or other form of Internet-based communication requesting not to receive future commercial electronic mail messages from that sender at the electronic mail address where the message was received; and
(ii) remains capable of receiving such messages or communications for no less than 30 days after the transmission of the original message.
(B) More detailed options possible
The person initiating a commercial electronic mail message may comply with subparagraph (A)(i) by providing the recipient a list or menu from which the recipient may choose the specific types of commercial electronic mail messages the recipient wants to receive or does not want to receive from the sender, if the list or menu includes an option under which the recipient may choose not to receive any commercial electronic mail messages from the sender.
(C) Temporary inability to receive messages or process requests
A return electronic mail address or other mechanism does not fail to satisfy the requirements of subparagraph (A) if it is unexpectedly and temporarily unable to receive messages or process requests due to a technical problem beyond the control of the sender if the problem is corrected within a reasonable time period.
(4) Prohibition of transmission of commercial electronic mail after objection
(A) In general
If a recipient makes a request using a mechanism provided pursuant to paragraph (3) not to receive some or any commercial electronic mail messages from such sender, then it is unlawful—
(i) for the sender to initiate the transmission to the recipient, more than 10 business days after the receipt of such request, of a commercial electronic mail message that falls within the scope of the request;
(ii) for any person acting on behalf of the sender to initiate the transmission to the recipient, more than 10 business days after the receipt of such request, of a commercial electronic mail message with actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that such message falls within the scope of the request;
(iii) for any person acting on behalf of the sender to assist in initiating the transmission to the recipient, through the provision or selection of addresses to which the message will be sent, of a commercial electronic mail message with actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that such message would violate clause (i) or (ii); or
(iv) for the sender, or any other person who knows that the recipient has made such a request, to sell, lease, exchange, or otherwise transfer or release the electronic mail address of the recipient (including through any transaction or other transfer involving mailing lists bearing the electronic mail address of the recipient) for any purpose other than compliance with this chapter or other provision of law.
(B) Subsequent affirmative consent
A prohibition in subparagraph (A) does not apply if there is affirmative consent by the recipient subsequent to the request under subparagraph (A).
(5) Inclusion of identifier, opt-out, and physical address in commercial electronic mail
(A) It is unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission of any commercial electronic mail message to a protected computer unless the message provides—
(i) clear and conspicuous identification that the message is an advertisement or solicitation;
(ii) clear and conspicuous notice of the opportunity under paragraph (3) to decline to receive further commercial electronic mail messages from the sender; and
(iii) a valid physical postal address of the sender.
(B) Subparagraph (A)(i) does not apply to the transmission of a commercial electronic mail message if the recipient has given prior affirmative consent to receipt of the message.
(6) Materially
For purposes of paragraph (1), the term “materially”, when used with respect to false or misleading header information, includes the alteration or concealment of header information in a manner that would impair the ability of an Internet access service processing the message on behalf of a recipient, a person alleging a violation of this section, or a law enforcement agency to identify, locate, or respond to a person who initiated the electronic mail message or to investigate the alleged violation, or the ability of a recipient of the message to respond to a person who initiated the electronic message.
(b) Aggravated violations relating to commercial electronic mail
(1) Address harvesting and dictionary attacks
(A) In general
It is unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission, to a protected computer, of a commercial electronic mail message that is unlawful under subsection (a), or to assist in the origination of such message through the provision or selection of addresses to which the message will be transmitted, if such person had actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that—
(i) the electronic mail address of the recipient was obtained using an automated means from an Internet website or proprietary online service operated by another person, and such website or online service included, at the time the address was obtained, a notice stating that the operator of such website or online service will not give, sell, or otherwise transfer addresses maintained by such website or online service to any other party for the purposes of initiating, or enabling others to initiate, electronic mail messages; or
(ii) the electronic mail address of the recipient was obtained using an automated means that generates possible electronic mail addresses by combining names, letters, or numbers into numerous permutations.
(B) Disclaimer
Nothing in this paragraph creates an ownership or proprietary interest in such electronic mail addresses.
(2) Automated creation of multiple electronic mail accounts
It is unlawful for any person to use scripts or other automated means to register for multiple electronic mail accounts or online user accounts from which to transmit to a protected computer, or enable another person to transmit to a protected computer, a commercial electronic mail message that is unlawful under subsection (a).
(3) Relay or retransmission through unauthorized access
It is unlawful for any person knowingly to relay or retransmit a commercial electronic mail message that is unlawful under subsection (a) from a protected computer or computer network that such person has accessed without authorization.
(c) Supplementary rulemaking authority
The Commission shall by regulation, pursuant to section 7711 of this title—
(1) modify the 10-business-day period under subsection (a)(4)(A) orsubsection (a)(4)(B), or both, if the Commission determines that a different period would be more reasonable after taking into account—
(A) the purposes of subsection (a);
(B) the interests of recipients of commercial electronic mail; and
(C) the burdens imposed on senders of lawful commercial electronic mail; and
(2) specify additional activities or practices to which subsection (b) applies if the Commission determines that those activities or practices are contributing substantially to the proliferation of commercial electronic mail messages that are unlawful under subsection (a).
(d) Requirement to place warning labels on commercial electronic mail containing sexually oriented material
(1) In general
No person may initiate in or affecting interstate commerce the transmission, to a protected computer, of any commercial electronic mail message that includes sexually oriented material and—
(A) fail to include in subject heading for the electronic mail message the marks or notices prescribed by the Commission under this subsection; or
(B) fail to provide that the matter in the message that is initially viewable to the recipient, when the message is opened by any recipient and absent any further actions by the recipient, includes only—
(i) to the extent required or authorized pursuant to paragraph (2), any such marks or notices;
(ii) the information required to be included in the message pursuant to subsection (a)(5); and
(iii) instructions on how to access, or a mechanism to access, the sexually oriented material.
(2) Prior affirmative consent
Paragraph (1) does not apply to the transmission of an electronic mail message if the recipient has given prior affirmative consent to receipt of the message.
(3) Prescription of marks and notices
Not later than 120 days after December 16, 2003, the Commission in consultation with the Attorney General shall prescribe clearly identifiable marks or notices to be included in or associated with commercial electronic mail that contains sexually oriented material, in order to inform the recipient of that fact and to facilitate filtering of such electronic mail. The Commission shall publish in the Federal Register and provide notice to the public of the marks or notices prescribed under this paragraph.
(4) Definition
In this subsection, the term “sexually oriented material” means any material that depicts sexually explicit conduct (as that term is defined in section 2256 of title 18), unless the depiction constitutes a small and insignificant part of the whole, the remainder of which is not primarily devoted to sexual matters.
(5) Penalty
Whoever knowingly violates paragraph (1) shall be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

Source

(Pub. L. 108–187, § 5,Dec. 16, 2003, 117 Stat. 2706.)
References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a)(4)(A)(iv), was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 108–187, Dec. 16, 2003, 117 Stat. 2699, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 7701 of this title and Tables.

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16 CFR - Commercial Practices

16 CFR Part 316 - CAN-SPAM RULE

 

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