Category Archives: Internet/Social Media

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Internet Vendors Need to Pay Attention to these States After U.S. Supreme Court Alters Sales Tax Collection Standard

Venable clients that engage in selling goods and/or services over the internet should evaluate whether the recent Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair will now require them to begin collecting sales and use taxes in states where they have not previously done so. In the Wayfair Case the Court held that a state … Continue Reading

Transparency Coming to a Campaign Ad Near You!

The Federal Election Commission recently held a public hearing to discuss its March 2018 proposed rule aimed at providing voters with more information about who pays for or sponsors online political advertisements. The private sector has adopted a solution to the issue. On May 22, 2018, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) took the first step … Continue Reading

New Website Accessibility Guidelines: W3C Publishes WCAG 2.1

Any organization with a publicly-facing website—in other words, virtually any organization—should be aware that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recently published its most recent update to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, titled WCAG 2.1. The W3C is a private organization that develops website accessibility standards. As you may now know, in recent years, … Continue Reading

The Rise of CGI Influencers

What if the influencer you had been following on Instagram—an influencer whose style choices you admired, and who supported social causes that you believed in—turned out to be…a robot? This is what happened to followers of Lil Miquela, a 19-year old model from California who launched an Instagram account in 2016.  For the past two … Continue Reading

FTC and House Start Working Together to Address CPSC-related Connected Technology Issues – Stakeholders Should Prepare for Future Government-Wide Cooperation

Robust conversations about IoT, smart technology, and product safety continue across the federal government. On May 16, 2018, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) held a public hearing on the Internet of Things (IoT) and consumer product hazards. (See previous related blog posts here and here about the hearing.) On June 13, the House Energy … Continue Reading

The Internet of Things, Product Safety, and Product Liability: A Risky Combination

On May 16, 2018, the Consumer Product Safety Commission held a public hearing to receive testimony on the Internet of Things (IoT) and issues related to product safety (IoT Hearing). Thirteen diverse stakeholders presented at the IoT Hearing. Of the thirteen presenters, there were three representatives of consumer organizations, one academic, one security expert and … Continue Reading

Walking the Line with Influencers: How to Satisfy the FTC without Your Influencers Becoming Employees in California

In light of a new California decision interpreting California’s wage and hour law, brand companies should take a careful look at their influencer compliance programs not only for FTC compliance, but also potential employment law consequences. How a company establishes and maintains influencer compliance can potentially convert the influencer from an independent contractor to an … Continue Reading

Embed at Your Own Risk, Says a New York Federal Court: Embedding Copyrighted Images on Your Website and Social Media May Lead to Charges of Copyright Infringement

Does your business or publication link or embed copyrighted content on your website or social media? If you routinely do the latter, a recent decision in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York suggests that the tide is turning to the former. Although this holding is merely persuasive outside of the … Continue Reading

Does Your Company Website Comply With Title III of the ADA?

Is your website covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act? The short answer is: possibly. This area of the law continues to evolve, with differences from jurisdiction to jurisdiction based on the type of website. But make no mistake: lawsuits alleging lack of website accessibility are hot. The most common allegation is that the company … Continue Reading

Marketplace Vendors Offered Voluntary Closing Agreement Program for State Tax Exposure

As states continue their quest to compel online vendors to collect sales and use tax on sales to customers located in the state and to subject such vendors to state income tax, a current trend has been targeting vendors selling via online marketplaces. Some states assert that the presence of inventory held for a vendor … Continue Reading

The FTC’s Influence Reaches Influencers: FTC Settles First Ever Complaint Against Social Media Influencers

Big day at the FTC for influencer announcements! The FTC announced its first ever settlement with social media influencers. At the same time they followed up with a second round of warning letters to a large group of influencers. Finally the FTC updated its FAQs on endorsements with some guidance, including its current views about … Continue Reading

It’s a Small World After All

If you think the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the only regulator paying attention to online endorsements and reviews, guess again. According to a recent FTC press release, 10 of the 60 countries that participate in the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) have taken actions in the year since the Network released the … Continue Reading

FTC Updates COPPA Guidance for IoT and New Consent Options

On June 21, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updated one of its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliance guides for businesses. Known as the “Six-Step Compliance Plan,” this document provides a step-by-step road map for determining if a company is covered by COPPA and what to do to comply. COPPA applies to operators … Continue Reading

The End of the #ad? A Turning Point for Branded Content on Social Media

It is no secret that influencer marketing—in which social media influencers have the ability to engage with their followers and create “organic” content about a particular product or service—is a huge asset for companies. It is also no secret that advertisers, agencies and influencers alike are often confused about how to comply with the FTC’s … Continue Reading

Digital Media Link, May 2017 – A Focus on Augmented and Virtual Reality

In the most recent edition of Digital Media Link, we explore the legal issues surrounding new technologies, with a particular focus on augmented and virtual reality. As we have seen time and again, new technologies do not necessarily mean new statutes or case law, which usually are slow to catch up. What is a lawyer … Continue Reading

FTC Formally Announces Influencer Sweep on “Word to the Wise Wednesday”

We previously blogged a few weeks ago about the FTC’s sweep of influencers and warning letters being sent regarding whether material connections are disclosed, and if so, if they are done clearly and conspicuously. The FTC has issued a press release with more detail. We now know there were over 9‎0 such letters sent. For … Continue Reading

Copyright Considerations for using Emoji in Commercial Ads

Given the ubiquity of emoji, businesses have used them in commercial ad campaigns. Honda has used emoji in creative advertisements, releasing Aprils Fools’ ads in 2016 and again in 2017. Twentieth Century Fox created some buzz last year when it placed a billboard in Los Angeles advertising a movie release (guess which one) with the … Continue Reading

Congress Takes Further Aim at Negative Option Programs

It’s no secret that automatic renewal (or continuity or negative option programs) are on many regulators hit lists. Regulators argue that consumers are often unaware that they have signed up for services or products for which they will be billed on a monthly basis unless and until they cancel, particularly when it involves a free … Continue Reading

Operation Full Disclosure Part 2: FTC Compliance Sweep—Influencing the Use of Influencers

Did you get a letter in March with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seal inquiring about your use of material connection disclosures in influencer campaigns and politely reminding you about the Endorsement Guides? If so, you are in good company as many other brand companies have received such letters as part of the FTC’s most … Continue Reading

There is No Such Thing as “Free Golf Balls”: The FTC Continues Crackdowns on Negative Option Marketers

We love golf, cooking, and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (“ROSCA”), so when the FTC brings a case involving all of this, we are compelled to blog. As it is almost Masters time, please feel free to put on your green jacket and read on. On March 24th, the FTC filed suit in California … Continue Reading

Highlights of the FTC and NASCO Conference – Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) hosted “Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity,” a conference exploring consumer protection issues in the changing landscape of charitable giving. Day One of the conference kicked off with introductory remarks by Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer … Continue Reading

U.K. Advertising Standards Authority’s Second Look at No Man’s Sky Is Worth a Look for any Video Game Advertiser

The ASA received 23 complaints from individuals believing that the game content for No Man’s Sky (“NMS”) was not the same as was advertised on Steam (Steam is an entertainment platform where, among other things, video games are advertised to Steam’s gaming community). The Complainants challenged a number of advertised NMS features including that: (1) … Continue Reading
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