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Digital media are now caught by French regulation and in particular by stringent transparency requirements

By virtue of the French “Sapin” law of January 29, 1993, France has become one of the most transparency-regulated media markets in the world, and remains so today. With the new Decree No 2017-159 of February 9, 2017, the protection of advertisers is further strengthened by extending the transparency requirements of the Sapin law to … Continue Reading

Avoid the Perfect Storm

Washington has been hit with a political Tsunami unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes.  But you know that.  What you may not know is how this tidal wave is going to change your day-to-day operations in advising marketers and their supply chain.  You may not know what to expect and how to respond.  Need … Continue Reading

FTC Will Consider Spying Toy Privacy Concerns

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), in response to a complaint filed by Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”) and other consumer groups, made the decision to review the potential privacy and security concerns associated with electronic, internet-capable children’s toys, namely My Friend Kayla and i-Que Robot, designed by Genesis Toys and Nuance Communications. EPIC … Continue Reading

Three States Introduce Bills to Legalize Sports Betting While SCOTUS Decides Whether to Hear Suit Challenging Existing Federal Ban

As the Supreme Court weighs whether to hear a New Jersey challenge to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PAPSA”) – a 1992 federal law that banned sports wagering in all states where it was not already in existence – legislators in New York, Michigan, and South Carolina have introduced legislation seeking to legalize … Continue Reading

States Act to Regulate Fantasy Sports

In attempts to lessen the uncertainty that still surrounds the legality of fantasy sports, Maryland and Florida introduced measures to clarify the rules of the road for the likes of DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Inc. Maryland’s regulations, adopted by the state Office of the Comptroller, went into effect January 2, while Florida’s House of Representatives … Continue Reading

New Jersey Prohibits Company from Contractually Banning Online Customer Reviews

This week, NJ Attorney General Christopher Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs settled with Fertility Bridges, Inc., a fertility clinic operating in California and Illinois, over the clinic’s practice of contractually barring consumers from posting online reviews of their experiences with the clinic and its personnel. The provisions, set forth in the Terms of … Continue Reading

Congress Introduces First Post-Obama Copyright Review Policy Proposal

Last week, members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee introduced their first of many upcoming policy proposals aimed at modernizing U.S. copyright law, and, specifically, the U.S. Copyright Office. This proposal sets out specific changes for the Copyright Office, including creating an advisory committee, introducing an information technology modernization plan, increasing the Office’s … Continue Reading

Copyright Office Starts New Process for DMCA Safe Harbor Registration Today

Last month, the Copyright Office issued a final rule governing the designation of agents to receive notifications of claimed infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). To help streamline the process, the Copyright office created a new, electronic filing system so that brands and advertisers can efficiently submit and update their designated agent.  The online … Continue Reading

House of Representatives Passes Consumer Review Fairness Act and Better Online Ticket Sales Acts

The House of Representatives passed two bills last week relevant to the advertising industry: the Consumer Review Fairness Act and the Better On-line Ticket Sales Act (“BOTS Act”). The Consumer Review Fairness Act is aimed at protecting consumers who write online reviews on certain websites, by invalidating “form contracts” which would impede those reviews from … Continue Reading

FTC, CFPB, and States Collaborate to Clamp Down on Illegal Debt Collection

On November 4, the Federal Trade Commission announced an unprecedented coordinated federal-state enforcement effort targeting deceptive and abusive debt collection. This sweeping initiative, termed “Operation Collection Protection,” coordinates federal, state, and local actions under the FTC, the CFPB, 47 state attorneys general, and other enforcement officers and agencies. As the top source of complaints to … Continue Reading

European Commission’s “digital single market” strategy attempts to break down online barriers in the EU

In the European Union (EU), online barriers prohibit EU citizens from receiving goods and services that are commonplace to U.S. citizens.  When I travel to Miami, for instance, I am able to use my Netflix streaming subscription to catch up on my favorite shows.  The same cannot be said for a citizen from the UK … Continue Reading

New Paperwork Required for NY Employers Engaging Child Performers

In an October blog post, we reported on the New York labor law amendments enacted specifically to protect runway and print models under the age of 18, providing them with the same protections that other young performers had received. Furthering the requirements of the amended laws, the New York Department of Labor recently released updated forms that employers must use when engaging child performers, including models.… Continue Reading

Massachusetts Enhances Protections for Celebrities (and Others) After Death

On June 13, 2014, the Massachusetts Senate passed S. 2022, beginning the process of joining 13 other states that prohibit companies from using celebrities' identities after they die. The bill amends Section 3A of Chapter 214 of Massachusetts General Laws, and creates a post-mortem "Right of Publicity" interest. The bill prohibits commercial use of the name, image, and likeness of a "personality" for 70 years after his or her death without written permission from either the personality or "persons who collectively own more than 50 per cent of the aspect of the personality's right of publicity that was commercially used . . . ." "Personality" is defined as "an individual whose identity has commercial value." To garner the bill's protection, however, the personality must be domiciled in Massachusetts as of the date of his or her death.… Continue Reading

Oklahoma Joins the Rapidly Growing Number of States with Social Media Password Laws

On May 21, 2014, Oklahoma enacted H.B. 2372, following the trend outlined in our earlier article on the growing number of states prohibiting employers from requesting employee or applicant social media account passwords. H.B. 2372 prohibits employers from requesting or requiring the user name and password of employees' or applicants' personal social media accounts or demanding employees or applicants to access the accounts in front of the employer. The law also prohibits employers from firing, disciplining, or denying employment to employees or applicants who refuse to provide the requested information.… Continue Reading

Straight from Singapore: Special Edition on the IANA Transition

House Republicans have introduced a bill to block the IANA transition. These are the same Republicans behind the quickly-called hearings set for April 2. "America shouldn't surrender its leadership on the world stage to a 'multistakeholder model' that's controlled by foreign governments," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). This seems to ignore a number of the points set out in the NTIA announcement, which specifically says that any government-led or intergovernmental-led solution will be rejected. On top of that, an implementation of the multistakeholder model to assume the IANA oversight functions hasn't been proposed yet. The process of developing that implementation hasn't even been proposed yet. Yet somehow, these lawmakers believe they need to pull out jingoistic rhetoric to support wild-eyed claims that the Internet could turn into "another Russian land-grab."… Continue Reading

New NY Labor Laws in the Spotlight at Fashion Week

Mark S. Goldstein was recently interviewed for an article by Law360 regarding new Labor Law protections for child models. As we previously mentioned, on October 21, 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law amendments to New York's labor laws to specifically cover child models. The legislation protects runway and print models who are under the age of 18 in accordance with the same state labor laws that already protect other young entertainers. Mark told Law360 that, among other things, he hopes that the Department of Labor works with fashion industry insiders to maximize effective implementation and enforcement of the new law.… Continue Reading

New York State Extends Labor Law Protections to Child Print Models

On October 21, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law amendments to New York's labor laws to specifically cover child models. The legislation aims to protect runway and print models who are under the age of 18 in accordance with the same state labor laws that already protect other young entertainers, including actors, dancers, musicians, singers, and voice-over artists. Specifically, the law, which goes into effect 30 days from its October 21 signing, contains mandated education, oversight, and financial protections, and requires employers to obtain work-related certificates of eligibility and maintain proper records of all work performed by child models. Among other provisions, this legislation requires: (i) chaperones to monitor the workplaces of models under 16 years of age; (ii) employers to provide nurses with pediatric experience and, under certain circumstances, teachers, as well as a dedicated space for instruction; (iii) employers to deposit at least 15 percent of the child's gross income into a financial trust created by the model's parents or guardians; and (iv) employers to provide notice to the NYS Labor Commissioner at least two business days prior to employing an underage model. Employers that violate the provisions of this legislation will be subject to monetary fines, generally ranging between $1,000 - 3,000 per violation.… Continue Reading

Legislative Roundup: CA Lawmakers Pass Three Privacy Bills

California is once again seeking to set the trend in privacy legislation, having recently passed three bills related to data privacy. One of those bills, AB 370, would mandate operators of websites and mobile apps to include disclosures in their privacy policies on how they respond to “do not track” signals or other consumer choice … Continue Reading

Maine Has Good News for Commercial Co-venturers

For companies that are frustrated by the burdensome commercial co-venture (CCV) licensing and registration requirements of some states, Maine has just provided a little relief. Maine has repealed its CCV licensing requirements, effective as of October 8, 2013. This means that a CCV in Maine will no longer have to be licensed in the state. Under Maine law, a commercial co-venturer is any "person or entity who, for profit, is regularly and primarily engaged in trade or commerce in [Maine], other than in connection with the raising of funds for charitable organizations or purposes, and who conducts a sale, performance, event or collection and sale of donated goods that is advertised in conjunction with the name of any charitable organization." Currently, Maine's CCV statute requires CCVs to pay a $250 license and application fee, post a $25,000 surety bond, and file a copy of the contract with the charity and an annual fundraising activity report.… Continue Reading

Congressmen Propose the ‘We Are Watching You Act’

Television broadcasters have long been able to track their shows' popularity. But a new bill introduced in Congress last week aims to regulate technology that would go even farther by using actual cameras and microphones on TV set-top boxes or DVRs to record viewers' reactions to advertisements. On June 13, the We Are Watching You Act (H.R. 2356) was introduced by Representatives Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) and Michael Capuano (D-Mass.). That bill, if enacted, would require companies to obtain viewer consent before using surveillance devices embedded in set-top boxes and DVRs to track people's moods and reactions. The cameras and microphones would send cable companies data on the audience's activities, including comments, facial expressions, food consumption, and general moods, as well as their age and gender. According to Congressman Capuano, such technology is not yet in use--last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected one company's patent application for such a system, and other companies have also reportedly explored similar technology. But the two lawmakers hope to put regulations in place preemptively, informing consumers and allowing them to opt out of such surveillance should it become a reality. Said Congressman Capuano, "[t]his may sound preposterous, but it is neither a joke nor an exaggeration. These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy."… Continue Reading

Prop. 37 and the Litigation Risks of Marketing “Natural” Foods

Prop. 37 (The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act) is a November 2012 California ballot measure that requires clear labels informing consumers if foods are genetically engineered. Under Prop. 37, retail food in California is misbranded if it has been entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering and that fact is not disclosed. There are different disclosure requirements for raw agricultural commodity and for processed food. In addition, if the food is "genetically engineered" or "processed food," as those terms are defined under the statute, the food may not, on its label, accompanying signage, or in any advertising materials, state or imply that the food is "natural," "naturally made," "naturally grown," "all natural," or any words of similar import that would have any tendency to mislead any consumer. The application of this section with respect to "processed food" is subject to some ambiguity as the definition of that term seems overly broad. Under Prop. 37, "processed food" means "any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any food produced from a raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing such as canning, smoking, pressing, cooking, freezing, dehydration, fermentation or milling." The issue with this definition is that it is not limited to genetic engineering. The plaintiffs bar may try to capitalize on this ambiguity by bringing claims over foods that meet the plain language of the definition - even where no genetic engineering is involved - such as frozen vegetables, cooked foods, dried fruits, and fermented vegetables, just to name a few.… Continue Reading

Sorry, Your Baby Can’t Read

Just before Labor Day, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed false advertising charges against the marketers of "Your Baby Can Read!" The program, widely promoted via infomercials and the Internet, purports to use videos, flash cards and pop-up books to teach babies as young as 3 months old how to read. The complaint charges Your Baby, LLC, its former CEO, and the program's creator, Dr. Robert Titzer, with false and deceptive advertising and deceptive expert endorsements. According to the complaint, the defendants failed to provide competent and reliable scientific evidence that babies can learn to read using the program, or that children at age 3 or 4 can learn to read books such as Charlotte's Web or Harry Potter.… Continue Reading
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