Below is an explanation of the CAN-SPAM law that directly applies to the University of Colorado's Bulk Mail Policy and Guidelines. Please review the information below to gain a full understanding of the law and how it affects those sending e-mails on behalf of the University.
A federal law related to commercial e-mail is now in effect. The “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003” or “CAN-SPAM Act of 2003” was signed into law in January 2004. This law will provide some relief from the ever-increasing amount of spam e-mail that we all receive.
One of the keys to this new law is that it applies to many types of e-mail messages and has very specific requirements for commercial e-mail that offers or promotes products or services. Upon review we have found that this law applies to a considerable amount of e-mail that is sent to recipients both on and off campus from CU-Boulder organizations and individuals. This law covers not only unsolicited commercial e-mail, but also electronic communications where the recipient has initiated the exchange. There are some exceptions for e-mail sent as a result of our transactional relationship (students, employees, vendors, etc.), however the exclusions are very specific and examples are detailed below.
In general we must ensure that we are truthful in addresses and subject descriptions and offer recipients an opportunity to decline from receiving future messages. It is important to remember that if an individual has opted out from receiving unsolicited commercial e-mail from CU-Boulder and is sent another e-mail message covered by this law, then the University can be fined up to $750 per unlawful message. To reduce the possibility of this occurring we have instituted policies and capabilities to comply with the law while minimizing the effect on the business of the University.
Any individual, group, or organization (internal or external to CU-Boulder) that sends an e-mail on behalf of the University that promotes a commercial product or service is affected. Frequently as part of our normal course of business, e-mail messages are sent to faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others informing them of upcoming events and activities. If there is a charge for engaging in these activities or receiving services, then this new law is applicable. The law does not make a distinction between an electronic communication to a single recipient or a mass e-mail campaign. While the new law covers all commercial e-mail, there are specific requirements to provide notices and opt-out capability for specific types of e-mail messages.
Here are some examples of messages that would be affected by the new law:
General Requirements for Commercial E-mail
What types of electronic communications are not subject to notice or opt-out requirements?
If the e-mail is directly related to an employment or transactional relationship or is non-commercial in nature, then it is not affected. This is narrowly defined by the law and doesn’t provide for very much variance. Here are some examples that would be exempt from the new law:
If your e-mail message meets the above criteria we have developed methods for both internal and external mailing. If in doubt, please call University Communications (303) 492-6431 and we will help you make the determination.
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