Is Spam Illegal?

Does the law protect you against spam?

Adam Freedman
4-minute read

Today’s topic: Spam

But first, your daily dose of legalese: This podcast does not create an attorney-client relationship with any listener. In other words, although I am a lawyer, I’m not your lawyer. In fact, we barely know each other. If you need personalized legal advice, contact an attorney in your community. 

Legal Lad Strikes it Rich!

I really appreciate all the interesting emails sent to legal@quickanddirtytips.com ---and I read them all.   But there’s one email in particular that I’m so excited about, I just have to share it. Ms. Belinda Tacey, who currently lives in London, needs to transfer $9.6 million to the US, and is looking for a trustworthy partner to help her effect the transaction. I’m honored to say that Belinda has selected me ---that’s right, me, Legal Lad -- to be her partner.   All I have to do is send her all my personal details and I will receive a specified percentage of the loot.

So looks like I’ll be able to retire very soon. But I figured I would do at least one more podcast -- and why not talk about anti-spam laws? After all, I’m afraid not everyone out there is as decent and trustworthy as my partner Belinda, so you need to protect yourself.

Is Spam Illegal?

Spam: it’s the bane of our inboxes, whether it’s a mortgage deal, a plea from a Nigerian Senator, or a very subtle pitch for “male enhancement” drugs. The more it comes, the angrier we get until we shake our fists and say: “There ought to be a law.” As it happens, there is a law. Quite a few, actually.

Back in 2003, Congress passed the infamous CAN SPAM Act, which stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing. I say “infamous” because the law has been much criticized for being ineffective.


About the Author

Adam Freedman

Adam Freedman is a lawyer and a regular contributor to Point of Law and Ricochet. Freedman’s legal commentary has been featured in The New York Times, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and on Public Radio. He holds degrees from Yale, Oxford, and the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Naked Constitution (2012).