A clear example that demonstrates how the CAN SPAM Act was passed to preserve and improve standards of email marketing.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently sided with online marketing company, Virtumundo, and rejected a suit filed by an anti-spam campaigner. The court declared that there are certain ‘beneficial aspects of email marketing’ and that the CAN SPAM Act was not passed to stifle these aspects but to preserve them.
The plaintiff, James Gordon, alleged that the emails sent by Virtumundo violated the CAN SPAM Act. He also alleged that the header information eclipsed the identity of the sender thereby violating Washington State law. But the court ruled against the complaint and stated that the company could not be charged for violation of the CAN SPAM Act or Washington State’s anti-spam law.
The court also pointed out that only 'private parties,' such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), could file a lawsuit under a federal law like the CAN SPAM Act. It wasn't possible for Gordon to get a ruling in his favor under the Washington State Law as well because his claims about illegal headers were forestalled by the CAN SPAM Act which surpasses all state laws dealing with spam except the ones that were passed against fraud.
Cyber law expert, Venkat Balasubramani said that the judgment will make it harder for individuals to file a case for violation of state laws. Venkat also said that the court’s ruling is highly email friendly.
The court's verdict in favor of email marketing is certainly worth celebrating. The court’s decision has demonstrated how the CAN SPAM Act should be interpreted and will act as a major catalyst for the trade in general. One can only hope that harmful spamming levels will reduce considerably.
However, email marketing companies cannot afford to be negligent as far as their practices are concerned. For instance, they should not stop the use of permission based email lists. It’s evident that email marketing laws are made to help email marketing and this is why it is short-sighted to try and breach them.