Tapjoy, Inc. (“Tapjoy”), a mobile advertising company, settled FTC allegations that it failed to provide promised in-game rewards to consumers. Tapjoy operates an advertising platform that works within mobile games and offers in-game virtual currency to users who complete the activities of third-party advertisers (i.e. purchase products, sign up for a free trial, take a survey). Despite hundreds of consumer complaints, Tapjoy failed to deliver on its promises to consumers who earned in-game rewards.
Continue Reading Mobile Advertising Company Gets Flack from FTC for Failure to Deliver Upon Advertised Promises

Brands and influencers could unknowingly be violating the FTC’s endorsement rules by using TikTok to promote paid posts and sponsored content without including the necessary disclosures. TikTok offers native direct download and social sharing tools that enable users to share TikTok videos on other social media platforms without the caption and hashtags from the original video description, which may include disclosures that were included as required by the FTC to identify paid advertising.
Continue Reading Native TikTok Tools May Create Liability for Brands and Influencers

Owlet Baby Care, Inc. advertised its “Smart Sock” baby monitor with prominent claims that the monitor offers parents “peace of mind,” and promises that babies will “be ok.” The ad message is qualified by disclaimers that the monitors are not medical devices and cannot be used to prevent or treat health conditions. The National Advertising Division (part of the Council of the Better Business Bureau), however, recently declared these disclaimers insufficient. The NAD was concerned that the advertising could be interpreted as saying the monitor could prevent SIDS or other illnesses.
Continue Reading NAD Recommends Improvements to Baby Monitor Performance Disclosures

The New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau recently released “Five Best Practices for Transparent Cause Marketing” which contains general best practices for cause marketing campaigns, including campaigns conducted on social media.  Cause marketing, also known as commercial coventures, is the practice by a for-profit company of donating a portion of the purchase price of an item or service to a charity.  Cause marketing is becoming increasingly popular among companies looking to do good as well as to generate positive publicity for their brand.  Many states regulate cause marketing, however, New York’s Best Practices indicate that greater attention may begin to be focused on campaigns conducted using social media and other newer online platforms for giving.
Continue Reading New York AG Addresses Cause Marketing on Social Media

The Federal Trade Commission recently proposed several updates to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA).

COPPA currently provides that operators of websites and other online services that collect personal information online about children under 13, or whose websites or services are directed at children under 13, must:


Continue Reading FTC Proposes Updates to Children’s Online Privacy Law

Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act ("Prop 37”), if approved by the voters on November 6, 2012, will provide that food offered for retail sale in California produced with genetic engineering (“GMO food”) is misbranded unless clearly labeled to say it is genetically engineered. Prop 37 also provides that GMO “processed food” may not on its label, store signage, advertising or promotional materials state or imply that the food is “natural” or words of similar import.

Ballot materials prepared by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) state that Prop 37 could be interpreted to mean “processed food” is subject to the prohibition against “natural” labels, even if it is not produced with genetic engineering. In our view, this is not the correct interpretation of Prop. 37.


Continue Reading Proposition 37 Permits “Natural” Labeling for Non-GMO Processed Food

On January 1, 2012, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 will become effective. This legislation will require every large retailer and manufacturer doing business in California to publicly disclose whether it has taken specified actions to eliminate slavery and human trafficking from its product supply chain. The Act does not require a company to make any effort to eliminate slavery or human trafficking, but only to disclose the extent, if any, to which it has taken the actions listed in the Act. The impact of the Act ultimately will depend on whether consumers, investors and activists use the required disclosure to pressure companies to monitor and eliminate abuses in their supply chains. California Civil Code Section 1714.43(a).
 


Continue Reading Compliance Deadline Looms for New Transparency in Supply Chains Act

It’s that time of year again. College campuses around the country are buzzing, co-workers are whispering about office pools, and “bracketology” is the popular science of the day. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament season, aka “March Madness,” has begun. To tap into the vast media audiences generated by the NCAA Tournament (the “Tournament”), ambush marketers have started populating the market with basketball-themed promotional materials. There is little doubt that ambush marketers can legally draw on generic basketball symbols and complimentary imagery to tie into the excitement surrounding the Tournament without exposing themselves to a meaningful risk of liability to the NCAA as the Tournament operator. But what about using the phrase “March Madness”?
 


Continue Reading March Madness Isn’t for Everyone

Brands have life cycles and the brands that create a credible emotional connection with the consumer are likely to be able to demand higher consideration and maintain brand loyalty. One must consider what legal protections to employ and which pitfalls to avoid in building a strong and evolving brand in light of the key trends for branding in the New Millennium.
Continue Reading How to Legally Protect Your Brand in the New Millennium

Words matter. Words can come back and bite you. Think before you speak. These are all self-evident truths that no one is likely to dispute. Yet, we continue to see examples of people, who should know better, doing just the opposite. This is especially true in the context of electronic communications – first, in work emails, and now, on social media websites. If it was a simple matter of personal embarrassment alone, then there would be no need for this article. This is not the case however.
Continue Reading Why Every Business Should Have A Social Media Policy

Words matter. Words can come back and bite you. Think before you speak. These are all self-evident truths that no one is likely to dispute. Yet, we continue to see examples of people, who should know better, doing just the opposite. This is especially true in the context of electronic communications – first, in work emails, and now, on social media websites. If it was a simple matter of personal embarrassment alone, then there would be no need for this article. This is not the case however. 
 


Continue Reading Why Every Business Should Have A Social Media Policy