Governments are catching up with spam laws, but sadly many have not legislated this yet. Canada has no spam laws, even though the "Federal Anti-Spam Task Force" recommended this in 2004. Country specific laws can be found at Spamlaws.com
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
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.