Anti-spam laws are laws designed to protect consumers from getting unsolicited and unwanted commercial emails. Anti-spam laws vary significantly across countries, but many countries have similar protections. In the United States, the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) was passed in 2003. In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation took effect in the European Union, creating new standards for data privacy and personal data that can affect email marketing.

Email service providers and email marketing platforms typically require compliance with anti-spam laws as part of their terms of service.

Is spam illegal in the United States?
Spam is legal in the United States. Whether or not a message is spam does not affect legality. Solicited and unsolicited email, and whether or not it is segmented or highly targeted do not impact legality in United States law.

What is not allowed under the CAN-SPAM Act?
Under the CAN-SPAM act, it is prohibited to transmit a commercial e-mail, or an email that is deemed to be transactional or relational (but has a misleader header). There are separate following requirements for commercial versus transaction / relational messages.

Does CAN-SPAM require opt-in?
There is no opt-in requirement for the CAN-SPAM Act. The law does not require the senders of commercial email to get the receiver’s consent before sending them commercial emails.