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FTC charges internet marketers over CAN-SPAM violations

The Federal Trade Commission has charged two internet marketers with violating the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act.

In breach of the terms of the Act, the firms failed to offer an opt-out method or honor consumers’ legal right to eschew receiving future marketing mailings within 10 days of making the request. One marketer also failed to include a valid physical postal address, which also is required by the Act.

Settlements with the marketers prohibit future violations of the Act and provide for civil penalties totaling more than $32,000.

The CAN-SPAM Act bans false or misleading header information, prohibits deceptive subject lines, requires that commercial emailers give recipients an opt-out method, requires that they honor requests to opt-out within 10 business days, requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement, and requires the sender to include a valid physical postal address.

The FTC charged that Kodak Imaging Network, formerly Ofoto, Inc., sent a commercial email message to more than two million recipients that failed to contain an opt-out mechanism, failed to disclose in the email message that consumers have the right to opt-out of receiving further mailings, and failed to include a valid physical postal address, as required by law.

The stipulated final judgment with Kodak Imaging Network prohibits future violations of the CAN-SPAM Act and imposes $26,331 in civil penalties, which represents a one hundred percent disgorgement of the gross proceeds from the offending email campaign. The settlement also contains record-keeping and reporting provisions to allow the agency to monitor compliance with its order.

The FTC also charged that sent more that 6,000 email messages to consumers who had previously requested not to receive future commercial email messages from the company. The stipulated final judgment with requires the company to pay $6,500 in civil penalties. The final order also prohibits future violations of the CAN-SPAM Act and includes record-keeping provisions.

The Commission votes to refer each of the complaints and proposed consent decrees to the Department of Justice for filing were 5-0. The proposed consent judgments were filed on May 10 and May 11 by the Department of Justice at the request of the FTC.

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