FTC Extends 'Primary-Purpose' Comment Period

The Federal Trade Commission said last week that it would extend the comment period on how it should define commercial e-mail. The deadline, originally today, is now April 20.

The CAN-SPAM Act has numerous regulations for e-mail whose "primary purpose" is commercial activity. The FTC is required to devise rules to define criteria for determining such e-mail.

The FTC originally requested comment March 11 on the primary-purpose rule, in addition to other rule areas such as the feasibility of a do-not-e-mail registry. The deadline for comment on the registry expired March 31. For the four other CAN-SPAM rules, including the definition of a transactional message and the feasibility of the 10-day unsubscribe requirement, the deadline remains April 12.

The FTC said it voted 5-0 to extend the comment period in response to requests from five trade associations, including the Direct Marketing Association, for a delay due to religious holidays and the need to consult their memberships. The DMA last week submitted comment on the do-not-e-mail registry, estimating it would cost the industry nearly $6 billion.

Comments are accepted by mail sent to the FTC or through a Web-based form at www.regulations.gov.

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