Actually Chuck, I think the CAN SPAM act supercedes state laws, therefore it prevents states from enacting or enforcing more restrictive laws. So if your emails comply with the Federal Regulations I don't think there is much individual states can do about them. My understanding is that the legislation was enacted for just that reason, not so much to limit spam as to limit the types of legislation that states could make about it. In regards to fraud, states have more room to set standards; because in fact, the prosecution or civil case would be about "fraud" rather than emails per se. Again, just my understanding.
I think you're right about the CAN SPAM Act superceding state law. I didn't write that very well.
The CAN SPAM Act provides an exception to its applicability for cases of deceptive practices. When I looked into this (I can't even remember how long ago, which should tell you something), there had just been a couple of cases in California decided in favor of the petitioner that applied the deceptive practices exception. I don't know if it's federal or state law that establishes the $1,000 per e-mail amount. I do know the CAN SPAM Act provides for both civil and criminal penalties.
Here is the attorney's site that filed the successful California complaints --> http://danhatesspam.com/
This is interesting, in this case he apparently won a judgement for $7K and was awarded attorney's fees of $82K. (I didn't have time to read the case so I'm not sure how the right to attorney's fees was achieved. I'll leave that up to you, there's a link below.) -->
On February 24, 2012, the Court of Appeal issued a published Order affirming the trial court in all respects: I win on the anti-spam cause of action, and I don't have standing on the CLRA cause of action. Trancos also owes me $82K in attorneys' fees on a $7K judgment, and it would have been a lot more than that except that I did a lot of the work on the case myself and couldn't bill for it. Read the Court of Appeal's Ruling. (Note: This document is hosted on an external website.) It's worth noting that Trancos could have settled this matter confidentially four years ago for a couple thousand bucks.
Keep in mind this law suit was the result of just eight e-mails.
I haven't researched whether attorneys in other states are filing similar claims. I bet they are.
All of the e-mail services such as Constant Comment will kick you off if they get complaints that you're sending unsolicitied e-mail, the receiver must have opted-in.
You would think that as a practical matter, if you aren't sending offensive information, you identify it as a sales e-mail in the Subject Line, you aren't hiding your identity and you provide an opt-out; it would be very unlikely that anyone would file a complaint or be able to win.
Edited by chuckfinley, 04 April 2013 - 05:14 PM.