On January 29, 2024, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. introduced the Do Not Disturb Act, a bill that would amend the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and “fix” the Supreme Court’s ruling in Duguid that limited the definition of “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS).

Robocalls, the New ATDS

The bill would delete the term “automatic telephone dialing system” from the TCPA and would instead replace it with “robocalls.” The bill defines “robocalls” as calls and text messages sent using equipment that makes calls or sends text messages to stored telephone numbers or telephone numbers generated by a random or sequential number generator, or using an artificial or prerecorded voice or an artificially generated message.Continue Reading New Bill to Modernize the TCPA Would Significantly Expand Potential Liability

On Thursday, October 12, a bipartisan group of senators—Chris Coons (D-Del.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)—released a Discussion Draft of the Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe (dubbed the “NO FAKES”) Act that would protect the voice, image, or visual likeness of all individuals from unauthorized AI-generated digital replicas, also referred to as “deepfakes.” This draft bill, while focusing on protections required by the advancement of AI, would establish the first federal right of publicity—the right to protect and control the use of one’s voice, image, and visual likeness. The NO FAKES Act could have widespread impacts on the entertainment and media industries, among others. 

Generative AI has opened new worlds of creative opportunities, but with these creative innovations also comes the ability to exploit another’s voice, image, or visual likeness by creating nearly indistinguishable digital replicas. This has caused great concern among musicians, celebrities, actors, and politicians regarding viral AI-created deepfakes circulating on social media and the Internet more broadly. To date, advancements in AI technology used to create digital replicas have outpaced the current legal framework governing unauthorized use. Although there are existing laws that may be used to combat digital replicas, these laws either vary from state to state, creating a patchwork of differing protections based on where one is located, or do not directly address the harms caused by producing and distributing unauthorized digital replicas.Continue Reading AI Deepfake Bill: Senators Contemplate the First Federal Right of Publicity

With the end of the Supreme Court’s term in June, most eyes have been on the release of the last remaining merits decisions. In the midst of issuing the final opinions of the term, the Court also granted certiorari on a number of cases, one of which—Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy—might have implications for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

In Jarkesy, the SEC sued talk radio host George Jarkesy and his two hedge funds (collectively, “the Jarkesy Parties”) through an administrative action before an SEC administrative law judge (ALJ). After an evidentiary hearing, the ALJ determined that the Jarkesy Parties committed securities fraud, and the Commission affirmed the ALJ’s decision, imposing a civil penalty, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and enjoining Jarkesy from various securities industry activities. The Jarkesy Parties proceeded to appeal the Commission’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Jarkesy Parties appealed on several constitutional grounds previously raised and denied during the ALJ and Commission proceedings:Continue Reading Supreme Court Case Watch: Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy and Its Impact on Independent Agencies

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision unanimously reversing the Ninth Circuit in Axon Enterprise v. Federal Trade Commission is likely to represent a monumental shift in pre-enforcement challenges to administrative enforcement proceedings brought by federal agencies, including the FTC.

The decision held that agencies, including the FTC, are not empowered to decide whether their own enforcement procedures are constitutional, removing the thumb from federal agencies’ side of the scale. The Supreme Court emphatically ruled that such authority is reserved for the courts, and that collateral challenges to the constitutionality of administrative proceedings are appropriate.

As background, the FTC can elect to litigate a party’s alleged wrongdoing in an administrative proceeding overseen by an FTC-appointed administrative law judge (ALJ) or in a federal district court. Until the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG two years ago, the FTC’s favored enforcement path was to proceed straight to federal district court. With that avenue significantly constrained by AMG, the FTC is more frequently bringing enforcement actions in administrative proceedings before ALJs. Administrative proceedings, however, include several components that heavily favor the FTC. First, the fact finder in an FTC proceeding is appointed by the FTC. Second, the party subject to the enforcement proceeding is forced to wait until the proceeding ends to challenge the result in a federal appeals court. Moreover, the reviewing federal appeals court’s scope of review is limited to the record that the FTC produced.Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Gorsuch Skeptical of ALJ Proceedings in Axon Enterprise v. Federal Trade Commission Decision

At its December 14, 2022 open meeting, the Federal Trade Commission announced it would publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking comment on potential updates or revisions to its existing Green Guides. The Green Guides are the agency’s guidance document intended to “help marketers avoid making environmental marketing claims that are unfair or deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act.” Earlier, the FTC had indicated that the guides would be revised this year, but that has apparently slipped to next year.

The pre-publication version of the notice, which will be published later in the Federal Register, indicates that the FTC is requesting comments on all aspects of the Green Guides, and in it the agency notes that in the 10 years since the last update, increased attention to environmental concerns has resulted in “the proliferation of environmental benefit claims [which] includes claims not currently addressed in the Guides.” In addition, the FTC wants to ensure that the guides respond to changes in consumer perception.Continue Reading FTC Seeks Public Comment on Possible Green Guides Revisions

Recent trends indicate that consumers and the U.S. government are paying more attention to where products are sourced from.  

The Biden administration, for example, has made efforts to raise federal procurement standards for products “Made in America.” Specifically, the administration in March announced a final rule that outlined gradual increases to the “Made in America” requirement. As of October 25, the rule requires that federally procured products under the Buy American Act must have 60% of the value of their component parts manufactured in the United States. Under the prior rules, the Buy American Act only required that products contain 55% component parts manufactured in America in order to qualify for federal procurement. The threshold will further increase to 65% in 2024 and 75% in 2029.Continue Reading An Update to “Made in USA” for Federally Procured Products and FTC’s “Made in USA”

Regulatory certainty is a key component in investing in the wireless space. Whether you’re evaluating a wireless network or an infrastructure play, a product that relies on wireless devices, or an emergent wireless technology, a potential acquisition or investment requires a comprehensive understanding of the venture. That includes the impact of the regulatory environment on the likelihood of success of the business plan and potential liabilities and risks.

Traditional due diligence may no longer be enough, given the quickly changing regulatory environment. When doing analysis and diligence, how can you ensure that it’s comprehensive enough for today’s regulatory environment?Continue Reading Finding Alpha in the Wireless Space: Regulatory Changes That Could Impact Investment

Doing good doesn’t get old. But marketing leaders know that effective promotion of a company’s charitable giving requires a subtle combination of bedrock advertising principles with a few twists. It’s often here that marketing and legal meet at the eleventh hour before a campaign goes live. Understanding the bounds of federal, state, and local laws that regulate charitable fundraising before these efforts launch helps marketing teams to be more efficient.

Knowing what type of giving campaign is in play is critical for understanding what regulatory requirements apply. While options abound, some perennial favorites include:Continue Reading Syncing Marketing and Legal: Compliance Considerations for Cause-Related Marketing

The Federal Communications Commission has concluded its official comment cycle for the Notice of Inquiry “Promoting Efficient Use of Spectrum through Improved Receiver Interference Immunity Performance.” As expected, most industry comments support a hands-off, industry-led approach to governing receiver performance, while academics and policy doyens argue for more comprehensive and stringent policies, including the adoption of actual rules, such as to establish harms claims thresholds for receivers.

We expect that under current leadership especially, the commission will pursue a middle-of-the-road solution that would not involve the adoption of new rules but would likely include the issuance of a policy statement on receiver performance. While a policy statement may not be on the top of the FCC’s agenda, this is certainly something that the staff can be working on during the fall, and while the comment period has closed, parties still have the opportunity to meet with the commission to influence any potential action. We expect that many will do so.

What could a Receiver Policy Statement look like? We believe that it could contain the following elements.Continue Reading The Aftermath of the FCC Receiver Proceeding: Our Expectations