Tag Archives: Industry

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

Illegal Gambling and Legal Promotions: The Effect of the Recent Poker-Related Decision

There is a fine line between a lawful promotion and illegal gambling. Sweepstakes are legal, while private lotteries are not. Paying entry fees for a skill contest can be legal (depending on the circumstances), while placing bets is generally not. So it is with great interest that we follow gambling laws - of both the federal and state variety - throughout the country (and internationally as well).… Continue Reading

Fox Hopes to Nix Dish Network’s Hopper and PrimeTime Anytime Technology

In May, a series of lawsuits were filed against Dish Network by the broadcast networks -- CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox -- over Dish Network's Hopper feature. Hopper allows viewers to automatically skip through television commercials on their DVR recorded programs and avoid messages from advertisers who have paid for commercial announcements. In connection with that suit, Fox is now seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the Dish Network from offering that feature, along with another feature called PrimeTime Anytime(and its AutoHop feature), arguing that such features cause fewer advertisers to buy commercials or to pay less for what they buy, therefore costing Fox revenue, and destroying the model upon which free television relies and ratings for commercials are calculated. Dish has responded that Fox is all wrong and that the fears expressed by Fox were unfounded. As reported in the press, this case is important because it puts technology in the center of a serious battle between what Dish believes consumers want and what Fox believes is essential to a healthy business environment.… Continue Reading

Case Update – Kim Kardashian Settles Her Look-Alike Lawsuit Against Old Navy

Just before the Labor Day weekend, Kim Kardashian ended her battle with Old Navy over the use of a look-alike. The settlement ends a year-long lawsuit (Kardashian v. The Gap Inc., et al., case number 2:11-cv-05960) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that alleged violation of California’s right-of-publicity statute and … Continue Reading

A Growing Trend – Employers Prohibited from Requesting Employee or Applicant Social Media Log-In Information

Earlier this year, Maryland enacted Labor and Employment Code §3-712, becoming the first state to pass a law explicitly prohibiting employers from requesting or requiring employees or applicants to disclose their usernames and passwords for their personal social media accounts. The law also prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, or penalizing the employee (or threatening to do so) or refusing to hire an applicant for refusal to disclose this information.… Continue Reading

What’s next for US brand owners, under the new gTLDs?

On June 13, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) revealed the list of applications for new gTLDs, marking the beginning of a dramatic shift in the domain name landscape and raising concerns for brand owners everywhere. In Reed Smith’s recent client alert, find out what steps to take to help you protect … Continue Reading

‘Sunshine Act’ à la française adopted on 29 December 2011. Healthcare and cosmetics companies will be subject to a tough transparency regulation in France

New French regulations, mirroring similar rules in the United States, place health care and cosmetics companies operating in France with heavy disclosure requirement if they have any pecuniary relationship with researchers, universities, or any other third parties in connection with the marketing of their products. For a full bulletin on this development, please visit our … Continue Reading

Is the United States ready to put its bets online?

U.S. States may soon have the ability to run full scale on line gambling activities based on a 180 degree turn by the United States Department of Justice, the regulator that has historically held that any online gambling is illegal in the United States. For more information, please visit our Legal Bytes blog or read the issued Client Alert here: U.S. Federal Government Reverses its Stance on Online Gaming.… Continue Reading

Cyber Lenses Put Alternative Reality In Focus

If you wear contact lenses,  chances are you find them a necessary evil, an uncomfortable "poke in the eye" to start your day. This may all change in the not too distant future as a team of researchers at Washington University are developing computerised contact lenses which will be able to receive and display certain … Continue Reading

Protecting Your Trademarks in the World of .XXX Domain Names

To go along with .com, .net, and the other current top-level domains (“TLD’s”), the formation of a new .xxx TLD has been approved for websites related to the adult entertainment industry. Since the .xxx TLD is intended only for adult entertainment industry websites, applicants who want to set up .xxx domains will need to certify that … Continue Reading

Facebook and Lamebook Settle Trademark Dispute

On August 25, 2011, Facebook and Lamebook, a self-described “fun humor blog” which highlights funny, absurd and “lame” things people post on Facebook, settled their trademark dispute. The dispute began in early 2010 with Facebook sending Lamebook a cease-and-desist letter to change its name and stop using the Lamebook mark. After months of discussions between the parties, … Continue Reading

The FTC’s Investigation of Google: What To Do When The FTC Sends Your Company An Inquiry

In June, Google confirmed that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened an antitrust investigation against it. While the scope and details of the investigation have not been disclosed, the FTC is likely examining whether and how Google has used its dominance in Internet search and advertising to stifle competition, and whether Google's actions cause harm to consumers.… Continue Reading

FTC OKs Self-Regulation Program for Online Behavioral Advertising

The Federal Trade Commission issued an advisory opinion letter this week saying that it has no present intention to challenge the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ accountability self regulatory program for companies engaged in online behavioral advertising. The program is designed to foster compliance with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, which were released by … Continue Reading

Tax Deal in New Jersey for Media Companies

In the latest state grab at more tax dollars, New Jersey, perhaps believing it is a major media center, announced that it is targeting media companies for taxes that are due. That’s the bad news. The other news (there is no “good” news when it comes to taxes) is that companies can get a break … Continue Reading

NASCAR Sued Over Unsolicited Text Messages

On August 10, a California woman filed suit against Nascar Holdings, Inc., alleging that the company violated the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by sending out unsolicited text messages. According to the complaint, the text messages were sent in February of this year to promote a Sprint Cup race at Daytona. Interestingly, the plaintiff alleges that … Continue Reading

SAG/AFTRA Propose 1-year Extension of Commercials Contracts

The following link contains the full text of the JPC’s recent bulletin regarding SAG/AFTRA’s proposal for a 1-year extension to the Commercials Contracts. It is the intention of the JPC to agree to the extension. During this extension year, all rates, terms and conditions of the 2009 – 2012 Commercials Contracts would remain the same, i.e., there … Continue Reading

Association of National Advertisers Challenges ICANN Authority to Establish New Top Level Domains

Today, in a letter to Mr. Rod Beckstrom, President, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) detailed major flaws in the proposed ICANN program that would permit applicants to claim virtually any word, generic or branded, as Internet top-level domains once the application window is opened in January … Continue Reading

New gTLD Plan Approved by ICANN; Now is the Time to be Asking — How Valuable is my Name?

We have written quite extensively over the last several months about the developments brewing within the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to change the current domain name system. In short, companies and organizations located anywhere in the world will soon be able to register and operate a gTLD that corresponds to just about … Continue Reading

Facebook Gets In Your Face

This post was written by Spencer Wein. Facebook has rolled out a new feature that uses photo recognition technology to suggest friends’ names to tag in uploaded photos. While certainly an impressive feature, the problem is that the social network giant introduced the feature as a default setting rather than as an opt-in option. This has left … Continue Reading

Facebook’s Newest Revision to its Promotional Terms of Use

Facebook revised its promotion rules for sweepstakes and contests on the premier social networking site. These revised terms went into effect May 11, 2011. Communication About a Promotion Still OK Although the revised promotion guidelines define “communication” broadly, they do not add any new restrictions in this regard. Thus, as it was before, one may advertise on … Continue Reading