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Math Question As Age-Gate and Invite-A-Friend Under Fire

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (“CARU”) routinely monitors web sites and mobile apps for compliance with its Guidelines and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).  Through that routine monitoring, CARU recently discovered the information practices of the 1st through 7th grade mobile applications called Friendzy (e.g., 1st … Continue Reading

Businesses Take Heed: FTC’s Recent Report, Conference Signal Big Data’s the Big Deal in 2016

FTC Kicks Off New Year with New Report on Growing Use of Big Data Analytics Across All Industries Without so much as a week of 2016 having lapsed, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) released a new report with recommendations to businesses on the growing use of big data. The report, “Big Data: A … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Advertising-Related COPPA Charges Against Two App Developers

This week, the FTC announced settlements with two developers of children’s apps that it claimed had failed to comply the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). While any COPPA enforcement by the FTC is noteworthy, these cases are particularly interesting in that they are the FTC’s first COPPA enforcement actions that are based on allegations that a child-directed online service … Continue Reading

Caveat Venditor: FTC Amends Telemarketing Sales Rule to Enhance Anti-Fraud Protections and to Update and Clarify Several Key Provisions Relating to the National Do Not Call Registry

On November 18, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a final rule setting forth a number of key amendments to its Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).  [FN1]  Specifically, in response to changes in the financial marketplace, the final rule prohibits the use of certain payment methods in telemarking.  In addition, and of likely much greater … Continue Reading

Come hear Jamie Rubin and Heather Nolan speak on hot topics in marketing law at the BAA Conference in Chicago on November 10th & 11th

On November 10, 2015, Partner, Jamie Rubin will moderate a panel on The Tricky Terrain Of Retail Marketing at the Brand Active Association/ Association of National Advertisers Legal Conference in Chicago. Also, on November 11, 2015, Partner, Heather Nolan will present a roundtable discussion on legal compliance steps for charitable promotions at the same conference. For those … Continue Reading

Possible Issues with FCC’s Clarifications to the TCPA

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted a package of declaratory rulings regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”), which the dissenting Commissioners warn could cause issues for businesses that communicate with their customers via phone or text messages.  InfoLawGroup discussed this vote and issue in a previous post.  Last week the rulings passed … Continue Reading

Alcohol Ads In the Digisphere – New-ish Guides In Town

At the end of September, thirteen leading beer, wine and spirits producers published the Digital Guiding Principles (DGPs) as part of their global commitment to reducing harmful drinking.  These are self-regulatory guidelines — they are not law, although some of the principles track legal requirements in the U.S.  Moreover, these principles do not replace any other guidelines … Continue Reading

Justine Gottshall To Speak at BAA/PMA Annual Marketing Law Conference

Attending the BAA Conference? Please join our partner, Justine Gottshall, as she leads a panel on Privacy by Design – A Cast of Characters: The Lawyer, the Marketer & the Organization. She will be joined by Susan Cooper from Facebook, Susan Goodhue from LinkedIn, and Michael McCullough from Macy’s. The session is on November 6, … Continue Reading

ALERT: Google’s Plan to Open Its Services to Children Could Spur Changes to COPPA Enforcement

Recent reports indicate that Google is developing a program that would allow children under the age of 13 to obtain accounts on Google services such as Gmail and YouTube.  The Wall Street Journal  recently reported that “Google is trying to establish a new system that lets parents set up accounts for their kids, control how … Continue Reading

“Like-Gated” Promotions No Longer Permissible on Facebook

Last week, Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”) announced a major upcoming change, effective November 5, 2014, to its Platform Policies that will affect the vast majority of promotions run on the platform. The announcement introduces a significant restriction on use of the “Like” functionality in connection with promotions (including sweepstakes and contests). Facebook stated its intention is … Continue Reading

New Connecticut Mini-TCPA Provides for Giant Penalties and Attorneys’ Fees

Companies sending text messages or conducting voice telemarketing in Connecticut beware! Connecticut has substantially amended its telemarketing law (the “mini-TCPA”), which now may regulate even more conduct than the federal TCPA – particularly, push notifications and in-app messages. In addition, the mini-TCPA provides for reasonable attorneys’ fees, which may present an incentive for plaintiffs to … Continue Reading

Pitfalls and Complications in Running a New-Media Promotion

Administering a sweepstakes or contest online can be a great way to attract traffic and engage with consumers. Not surprisingly, many companies routinely utilize sweepstakes and contests (which are referenced collectively in this article as “promotions”) as part of their overall online marketing push. Administering promotions, however, can get complicated when operating them on third-party … Continue Reading

CARU IS WATCHING YOUR…APPS

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CARU) routinely monitors advertising to children.  Through those monitoring efforts, CARU brings challenges against advertisers for alleged non-compliance with its Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  In a recent case published on March 10, 2014, CARU … Continue Reading

COPPA AND RECENT AMENDMENTS TO THE COPPA RULE: A COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW

By Justine Young Gottshall And Damien Wint As we approach six months since the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, 16 C.F.R. Part 312 (the “Rule” or, as amended, the “Amended Rule”) became effective, it is essential that any website or online service that is not in … Continue Reading

Sweepstakes and Contests Now Easier To Run on Facebook

Yesterday (Aug. 27, 2013) Facebook updated the section of its Pages Terms applicable to administering sweepstakes and contests on Facebook (see HERE and HERE).  In essence, Facebook removed almost all of the prior restrictions they imposed.  For example, companies no longer have to run their sweepstakes or contests via an app, nor are they prohibited … Continue Reading

Trolls Attack! Another Reason “Template” Official Rules Aren’t Enough for Your Promotion

Ben Stein contributed to this post. Earlier this week, Boston’s KISS FM canceled its “Taylor Swift’s Biggest Fan” contest after trolling users of the 4chan and Reddit online forums catapulted a participant to the winning spot. This and other recent promotions that have been similarly compromised serve as a reminder of the importance of having … Continue Reading

FTC UPDATED FAQs FOR AMENDED COPPA RULE: KEY POINTS

For operators of web sites, apps and other online services, change is definitely coming – and quickly.  On April 25, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued updated Frequently Asked Questions (the “FAQs”) for its amended implementing rule (the “Rule”) for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).  The FAQs give some additional insight regarding … Continue Reading

Why You Should Register the Domain Name Before Publicly Announcing the Marketing Phrase

Serenity Springs v. LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2013 WL 1560206 (Ind.App. April 15, 2013) Here’s a case that shows how with just a couple minutes’ effort and a only a few dollars, marketing professionals can prevent loads of trouble and expense for their organizations down the road. Plaintiff, a local government-run tourism bureau, … Continue Reading

THE FTC UPDATES ITS .COM DISCLOSURES GUIDANCE — Focus on Mobile and Space-Constraints; Frowns Upon Certain Common Practices

On March 12, 2013, the FTC released its long-awaited update to its year 2000 Dot Com Disclosures guidance; a document issued to help businesses develop legally compliant online ads.  Having recognized that much has changed in online advertising since 2000, the FTC’s update focuses not only on web sites, but also on social media activities and … Continue Reading

FTC Report: Mobile Apps For Kids Not Making The Grade (NOTE: Not Just A Privacy Report)

On December 10, 2012, the FTC released a follow-up to its February 2012 report on mobile apps for kids.  The February 2012 report found that little or no information was available to parents about the privacy practices of the mobile apps the FTC surveyed on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market.  The FTC’s follow-up report finds … Continue Reading

Pinterest’s Accounts and Terms of Service for Businesses and their Potential Impact on Sweepstakes, Contests, and Other Promotions

On November 14, 2012, Pinterest, Inc. revamped the Terms of Service (“Terms”) for Pinterest.com (“Pinterest”) and created new business only accounts (“Business Accounts”) to be governed by the site’s new Business Terms of Service (“Business Terms”). Although commercial use of the service was always encouraged by Pinterest, its Acceptable Use Policy  and prior versions of … Continue Reading

Acai of Relief? Marketers’ Recent Settlement of FTC Charges Serves as a Reminder for Online Advertisers and Affiliate Marketers.

Two online marketers of acai berry products recently settled the FTC's charges that the marketers engaged in deceptive practices by operating "fake news" sites directly and through affiliates to promote acai berry products. Although these cases are extreme examples of deceptive practices, they should serve as an important reminder for companies engaging in affiliate marketing that the FTC actively enforces in this area using the FTC Act, and that companies marketing through affiliates and affiliate marketers must understand and address the FTC's Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which were updated in 2009 ("Guides"). As discussed further below, this can pose a challenge for companies of all types advertising through affiliate marketing programs … Continue Reading

FTC: “The Kids App Ecosystem Needs To Wake Up…”

Today, the FTC released a report titled Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures Are Dis appointing. The FTC surveyed apps for children available in the Android Market and the Apple App store. The FTC found that apps can capture a bunch of information from a device and person, but there is a lack of information about data … Continue Reading
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