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FTC serves up fully baked spam recipe

Agency issues final rules as to what constitutes commercial bulk e-mail, or spam, which is subject to restrictions under Can-Spam Act.

The Federal Trade Commission issued on Thursday its final regulations as to what the government will consider commercial bulk e-mail, or spam, which is subject to restrictions under the federal Can-Spam Act.

The regulations will give guidance to both bulk e-mail operations and judges over which e-mail messages fall under the commercial regulations set down in the act.

According to the FTC, bulk e-mail is commercial if it includes advertising and promotion or if the subject line or beginning of the message would be reasonably considered to be advertising or promotion.

The regulations come during the same week that a Maryland judge tossed out part of that state's antispam law as unconstitutional.

For the most part, the rules remain similar to proposed rules published in August, the agency said. The new rules tackle e-mail messages that have both commercial and transactional (such as information about a purchase) or relationship (such as information about a product update) content.

The final rules also require companies to clearly label sexually explicit e-mails.