The United States has legislated email with CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) in 2003. This law require several elements of a commercial email message conform to a minimum set of standards. Here is a rundown of the law's main provisions:
- It bans false or misleading header information
- It prohibits deceptive subject lines
- It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method, which must be processed within 10 days of receiving by the sender
- It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender's valid physical postal address
Unsolicited bulk e-mail that complies with these rules is legal under CAN SPAM, even though such UBE is widely considered to be spam.
The Internet community is also working on several global initiatives to help stem the tide of unsolicited commercial email, CAUCE recently endorsed the Senders BCP published by MAAWG, written mostly by Email Service Providers with input from ISPs, Corporations and RBL providers.