Summary: S.877 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 108-187 (12/16/2003)

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 or the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 - (Sec. 2) Sets forth the determination of Congress that: (1) there is a substantial government interest in regulation of commercial electronic mail (spam); (2) senders of spam should not mislead recipients as to the source or content of such mail; and (3) recipients of spam have a right to decline to receive additional spam from the same source.

(Sec. 3) Requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue regulations defining the relevant criteria to facilitate the determination of the primary purpose of an electronic mail message.

(Sec. 4) Amends the Federal criminal code to subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both any person who: (1) accesses a protected computer without authorization and intentionally initiates the transmission of multiple commercial electronic mail messages from or through such computer; (2) uses a protected computer to relay or retransmit multiple messages, with the intent to deceive or mislead recipients or any Internet access service as to the origin of such messages; (3) materially falsifies header information in multiple messages and intentionally initiates the transmission thereof; (4) registers, with materially false identifying information, for five or more electronic mail accounts or online user accounts or two or more domain names and intentionally initiates the transmission of multiple messages from such accounts or domain names; or (5) falsely represents oneself to be the registrant or legitimate successor in interest to the registrant of five or more Internet protocol addresses and intentionally initiates the transmission of multiple messages from such addresses. Allows for: (1) higher penalties in the case of offenses committed in furtherance of any felony or if the defendant has previously been convicted for conduct involving the transmission of multiple messages or unauthorized access to a computer system; and (2) the forfeiture of property obtained from such an offense and equipment, software, or other technology used to commit such an offense. Directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review and amend sentencing guidelines to provide appropriate penalties for such violations.

Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) spam has become the method of choice for those who distribute pornography, perpetrate fraudulent schemes, and introduce viruses, worms, and Trojan horses into personal and business computer systems; and (2) the Department of Justice should use all existing law enforcement tools to investigate and prosecute those who send bulk commercial e-mail to facilitate the commission of Federal crimes.

(Sec. 5) Sets forth protections against spam that include: (1) a prohibition against false or misleading transmission information; (2) a prohibition against deceptive subject headings; (3) mandatory inclusion of a return address or a comparable mechanism in commercial electronic mail; (4) a prohibition against transmission of spam after objection (including a prohibition against transferring or releasing an email address after an objection); (5) mandatory inclusion in spam of information identifying the message as an advertisement or solicitation, notice of the opportunity to decline to receive further unsolicited messages from the sender, and the sender's physical address; (6) a prohibition against initiating transmission of spam to a protected computer, or assisting in the origination of such message through the provision of addresses, if the person had actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that the recipient's address was obtained from an Internet website or proprietary online service that included a notice that the operator will not provide addresses for initiating unsolicited messages; (7) a prohibition against using automated means to register for multiple email accounts for the transmission of spam; and (8) a prohibition against relaying or retransmitting an unsolicited message that is unlawful under this section.

Requires a person, when initiating commercial electronic mail containing sexually oriented material, to provide labels warning of such content, unless the recipient has giver prior affirmative consent to receipt of such mail. Provides criminal penalties for violations.

(Sec. 6) Prohibits: (1) promoting a business by the use of email containing false or misleading transmission information; and (2) enforcement against third parties, with exceptions.

(Sec. 7) Confers enforcement powers for violations of this Act upon the FTC, designated Federal agencies, and States. Allows for the award of aggravated damages in certain cases. Permits a provider of Internet access service adversely affected by a violation of this Act to bring a civil action.

(Sec. 9) Directs the FTC to submit to: (1) specified congressional committees a plan and timetable for establishing a nationwide marketing Do-Not-E-mail registry; and (2) Congress a report of the effectiveness and enforcement of provisions of this Act.

(Sec. 11) Directs the FTC to submit to specified congressional committees reports that set forth: (1) a system for rewarding those who supply information about violations of this Act; and (2) a plan for requiring spam to be identifiable from its subject line.

(Sec. 12) Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to make certain restrictions on the use of automated telephone equipment applicable to persons outside the United States (currently, only to persons within the United States) if the call recipient is within the United States.

(Sec. 14) Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promulgate rules to protect consumers from unwanted mobile service commercial messages, including rules to: (1) provide subscribers with the ability to avoid receiving such messages unless they have provided express prior authorization; and (2) allow recipients to indicate electronically their desire not to receive such messages in the future.