Do We Need A Truth In Advertising Act? The Industry and Retailers Self-Regulate Photoshopping Ads

Digitally altered images of models have been a controversial advertising issue for decades. In Great Britain, the Advertising Standards Authority Ltd., which is the governing regulatory advertising body, in 2011 banned skincare advertisements featuring digitally altered images because the advertisements exaggerated the effects of the skincare and makeup products and were held to be misleading “per se.”[1] In France, as of October 1, 2017, “it [was] mandatory to use the label ‘retouched photo’ alongside any photo used for commercial purposes where the body of a model has been modified by image-editing software to either slim or flesh out her figure” and any violation might result in a fine of up to €37,500. Continue Reading

Are Your Product Warnings Prop 65 Compliant? With New Changes Coming, It’s Time to Re-Evaluate

Prop 65 is a California law that requires California consumers receive warnings regarding the presence of chemicals that cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. As we reported in our Environmental Blog, new Prop 65 regulations go in to effect August 30, 2018, giving the government and opportunistic private parties new avenues to assert claims. If your products are sold in California, now is the time to evaluate whether you are in compliance with Prop 65. Don’t wait until August.

Reading Between the Blurred Lines

The Federal Trade Commission recently released a Staff Report regarding consumer recognition of native and search advertising entitled “Blurred Lines”, summarizing its findings from its self-styled “exploratory research”. Unsurprisingly, the FTC concluded that the use of disclosures consistent with prior FTC guidance increased the likelihood that consumers would recognize online ads as ads. Continue Reading

New Compliance Warning: Interest-Based Video Ads Must Provide Notice and Choice

The Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program recently warned that it will require interest-based video ads to provide transparency and control to viewers by April 1, 2018.

The Accountability Program, a service of the Better Business Bureau that regulates online behavioral advertising, has previously enforced the Digital Advertising Alliance’s self-regulatory principles for interest-based advertising (DAA Principles) with respect to behavioral advertising across websites, mobile apps and across multiple devices associated with the same person, but it has refrained from enforcing the principles with respect to online video ads to allow the video ad marketplace to innovate and mature. Due to the exponential growth of online video ad spend, the Accountability Program says that the time is now right to set a date for enforcement. Continue Reading

FTC Workshop Provides Insight on Best Practices to Mitigate Informational Injuries

On December 12, 2017, the FTC hosted a workshop to discuss informational injuries that consumers may suffer when their personal information is misused. Discussion topics included the types of informational injuries consumers suffer and business and consumer perspectives about costs, benefits and risks of collecting information. Continue Reading

Behavioral Advertising Company That Dropped “Zombie” Cookies Can’t Use Verizon’s Arbitration Clause To Avoid Class Action Lawsuit

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a non-party online behavioral advertising firm could not benefit from the arbitration clause in the agreement between Verizon and its customers because it was not a party to that agreement. Continue Reading

Deadline Approaching: Action Required by December 31 To Avoid Losing DMCA Safe Harbor Protection

The U.S. Copyright Office is making changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor agent registration process. The changes impact both new online service providers as well as existing online service providers who have already registered an agent. Read on for details about what you will need to do. Continue Reading

Paid to Post? #FTCAdvice for Influencers

In our previous blog post, “#CAUTION: FTC Ramps Up Enforcement of and Education on Social Media Influencer Disclosure Requirements,” we discussed a recent Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) settlement and the FTC’s increased focus on misleading advertising and endorsements on social media platforms.

The complaint, brought by the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection (“BCP”), was against two online gaming influencers, Trevor Martin (a/k/a TmarTn), Thomas Cassell (a/k/a TheSyndicateProject, Tom Syndicate, and Syndicate), and their corporation CSGOLotto, Inc. (“CSGOLotto”).  The BCP alleged that Martin and Cassell (1) did not disclose their ownership in CSGOLotto, (2) were paid to endorse the online platform’s gambling service and (3) asked other gaming influencers to promote the service in exchange for payments between $2,500 and $55,000 without making them disclose such payments. In response to the complaint, neither Martin, Cassell, nor CSGOLotto admitted or denied the allegations, but instead agreed to enter into an Agreement Containing Consent Order with the FTC (the “Order”). The Order prevents them from misrepresenting an endorser of the product or service as an independent user or ordinary consumer of same and requires them to clearly and conspicuously state if the endorsers have a material connection to the product or service. Continue Reading

#CAUTION: FTC Ramps Up Enforcement of and Education on Social Media Influencer Disclosure Requirements

In 2017, being a “social media influencer” can mean big bucks. Companies are increasingly eager to pay individuals with large social media followings substantial sums to promote products in the hopes of reaching millions of potential customers quickly. And consequently, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) is paying attention more than ever. If you’re being paid to promote a product on your Instagram account, the FTC wants you to let the world know. . . or else. Continue Reading

Privacy Hat Trick: Three New State Laws to Juggle

Nevada, Oregon and New Jersey recently passed laws focusing on the collection of consumer information, serving as a reminder for advertisers, retailers, publishers and data collectors to keep up-to-date, accurate and compliant privacy and information collection policies. Continue Reading