On 11/25/03, the Senate passed the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which will preempt state law when signed by the President, who is expected to do so shortly. This is the first federal legislation directly regulating SPAM.
Very basically, the bill requires senders of unsolicited commercial email to provide recipients with a functioning process to opt out (i.e. the “remove” link must work), a real address, and a real contact. The bill prohibits civil suits by individuals and requires the establishment of an opt-out list individuals can join (similar to the one for unwanted telephonic solicitations). Senders of fraudulent email face severe criminal penalties.
The bill (877) has been criticized by states with tougher spam laws as being too weak.