The Catholic University of America

Director of Instructional Technology

Federal Laws



Under the law, companies may send transactional or relationship emails, commercial email where the recipient has given consent, and certain unsolicited commercial email messages. Commercial email is defined in the law as those emails that have as their primary purpose the promoting or advertising of a commercial product or service. The law specifically prohibits the sending of commercial (including transactional) email that is accompanied by header information that is materially false or misleading or with a deceptive subject heading. The law requires the inclusion of a functioning return electronic mail address (or other Internet based mechanism) on all commercial email that the recipient may use to submit a reply not to receive further email from the sender. Commercial email must include clear and conspicuous identification that the message is an ad, notice of the chance to decline further email, and a valid physical postal address from the sender. Best practices are these:

  • Always provide clear, accurate source and contact information for all email sent by staff members or sent on behalf of the organization, including a valid email and postal address to which replies can be sent, and a subject line that correctly reflects the message's contents.
  • Provide email recipients with a clear method for unsubscribing or opting out of future messages. Develop standard opt-out language for all email messages, such as to type "unsubscribe" in the subject line and hit "Reply," or to click a link to a web site that automatically unsubscribes the recipient.
  • Create clear systems and procedures to honor any stop email request in a timely fashion, preferably within 10 business days. Train staff and volunteers on proper procedures for sending email, and have a designated official regularly review outgoing messages to verify that they meet internal standards.
  • Clearly explain the organization's email policies to any corporate sponsors, partners, or vendors with whom it might be cooperating.
  • Ensure that outside vendors comply with industry standards such as those developed by the Direct Marketing Association or the Association for Interactive Media's Council for Responsible Email. Any vendor or organization sending email on your behalf should provide to you the email address of anyone who has requested to be dropped from your email communications list.

The Director of Instructional Technology has the responsibility to ascertain if admission or alumni relations are sending any *commercial* messages, and if so, to ensure the above "best practices" are followed.



EDUCAUSE web page on P2P File Sharing

Peer to Peer File Sharing: Paper by Susan Hattan for the NACUA Compliance Conference

UC Boulder HEOA Peer to Peer Compliance Plan

UW Madison Peer to Peer Compliance Plan