Proposed CAN-SPAM Changes Worry DMA

The Direct Marketing Association urged members last week to submit comments to the Federal Trade Commission regarding proposed changes to the CAN-SPAM Act, citing concerns about how some of the changes would affect commercial e-mail.

DMA members are worried about a proposal to shorten the deadline for complying with consumer opt-out requests from 10 days to three, the DMA said. Members have stated that the shortened timeframe would be “unworkable,” according to the association.

Another concern is a proposed change in the definition of the term “sender” as it is used in CAN-SPAM. The FTC wants to define the “sender” of an e-mail as any entity that determines the e-mail addresses to which an ad message is sent, is identified in the message's “From” line or controls the content of the message.

The changes aim to identify a single “sender” for each e-mail message for the purposes of enforcing the rule. DMA members are concerned about how this would apply when more than one business' products are advertised in a single e-mail, or when third parties are used to disseminate an e-mail, the DMA said.

The association asked members to send questions or comments about the proposed changes to Jerry Cerasale, DMA senior vice president for government affairs, at [email protected] The DMA also asked members to submit specific examples of how the shortened deadline for opt-out request compliance won't work for companies using existing list-removal processes.

The DMA is crafting a joint industry response to the FTC on this issue, the DMA said. However, the organization is encouraging members to submit comments to the FTC individually as well. Comments to the FTC may be filed online at The full text of the proposed changes can be found in PDF format at

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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