Entertainment Marketing

To date, there are over 1 billion augmented reality (“AR”) users and 171 million virtual reality (“VR”) users worldwide[1], a number that continues to increase as more industries turn to AR and VR to create immersive user experiences. Companies are offering stand-alone experiences that integrate augmented reality and virtual reality at events, such as Samsung and Live Nation’s broadcast of a VR Coldplay concert, as well as through in-store location based applications to encourage a seamless “try before you buy” approach, like Gucci’s AR apparel and accessories try-on app. AR and VR are shaping the future of advertising and influencing our purchasing decisions. As a society with limited attention spans, these immersive experiences may be the answer to cultivating brand awareness and fostering consumer loyalty.
Continue Reading Is it Time to Make AR and VR a Part of Your Reality?

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 Paid to Post? #FTCAdvice for Influencers

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

In response to a petition from a coalition of consumer groups last year complaining about the need for disclosures by social media influencers, the FTC recently announced on April 19, 2017 that it had issued more than ninety letters reminding influencers and brands that “if there is a ‘material connection’ between an endorser and the marketer of a product – in other words, a connection that might affect the weight or credibility that consumers give the endorsement – that connection should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed, unless the connection is already clear from the context of the communication containing the endorsement.” The FTC explained that material connections could “consist of a business or family relationship, monetary payment, or the provision of free products from the endorser.” A copy of the form of the letter, which explains that clear and conspicuous disclosures are required can be found here.
Continue Reading Brands Beware!!!! FTC Scrutinizing Influencer Posts for Compliance with Endorsement Guides

On Feb. 20, 2009 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California law banning the sale or rental of “violent video games” to minors and requiring such games to be labeled “18” (the legal age for adults). While this decision may surprise some California lawmakers and parents, its holding is fully consistent with substantial U.S. Supreme Court precedent entitling minors to a signifi cant measure of First Amendment protection, and leaving parents with the duty to supervise “appropriate” content.
 


Continue Reading A New Game Plan

In deciding whether the unauthorized use of a third party’s name, voice, likeness or persona (collectively, “Image”) violates such third party’s publicity rights, the first level of inquiry is whether the use is properly categorized as a “commercial” or a “non-commercial” use.  If an Image is used without permission in a non-commercial or “newsworthy” context, such use is generally protected so long as the Image used is reasonably related to the aspect of the use that makes it newsworthy, and so long as less than the Image owner’s “entire act” is used.

Distinguishing between commercial and non-commercial uses is a context-specific inquiry, and describing the precedent on that issue is beyond the scope of this article.  But where the underlying use is concededly non-commercial, such that permission does not need to be obtained from the person whose Image is depicted, this Adbriefs blog post briefly addresses whether the Image can also be used to advertise or promote the underlying use without giving rise to a valid right of publicity claim by the person whose Image is depicted.
 


Continue Reading Between Cher And Joe Montana – When Is It Okay To Use A Person’s Image To Advertise A Protected Use Of That Image?

In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for technology licenses of all types, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California recently held that the first sale doctrine permits a recipient of promotional CDs to sell them online without violating the license pursuant to which the CDs were distributed and without being liable for copyright infringement.  UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Augusto, No. CV 07-03106, slip op. (C.D. Cal. June 10, 2008).  The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and rejected Universal Music Group’s (“UMG”) argument that the labeling on the promotional CDs created a license without transferring title.


Continue Reading UMG v. Augusto: Allowing the Sale of Promotional CDs Under the First Sale Doctrine Could Affect Much More than the Music Industry

Although the WGA strike is reportedly near an end, the strike has naturally made it harder to find paid acting jobs in film and television, causing a greater number of Hollywood celebrities (and their agents and other reps) to pursue endorsement opportunities and the money that follows.  The money, however, doesn’t just go to the celebrities and their reps.  It also goes to the trustees of the applicable guild’s Pension and Health Plan.  The amounts being claimed by the trustees, and in some cases the threshold issue of whether the trustees are entitled to ANY amounts, are increasingly being challenged.  This blog entry briefly discusses the allocation issue and the jurisdiction issue.


Continue Reading Endorsement Agreements: Guild Jurisdiction And Allocation Guidelines Both Being Challenged