Category Archives: Internet/Social Media

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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

A Timely Reminder to Re-Examine Your IP Clearance Protocol: Anheuser-Busch Sued by Individual for Use of a Photo She Posted to Social Media

Perhaps some readers once (or still do!) enjoyed some Natty Light while listening to the Beastie Boys. Some time ago, we blogged about the ongoing Beastie Boys litigation against Monster Energy over copyright and right of publicity issues for a video Monster Energy posted on its website. The next case to watch is Kraft v. Anheuser-Busch, … Continue Reading

Deceptive Claims for Health App and Endorsements by Employees Raise FTC’s Blood Pressure

As 2017 quickly approaches, and consumers look for gift ideas or help with their New Year’s resolutions, “apps” that focus on fitness and health are increasingly popular. A recent FTC settlement against Aura Labs, Inc. (“Aura Labs” or “Aura”) and its principal, for allegedly making deceptive claims regarding the accuracy of its blood pressure measuring … Continue Reading

Highlights of the 2016 NAAG/NASCO Charity Regulators’ Annual Conference

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) convened for their 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC this week. The “Public Day” of the conference, held on Monday, October 16, provided an opportunity for nonprofit leaders, professional counselors and advisers, and academics to learn about “the evolving … Continue Reading

FTC Wins Some, Loses Some at Second Circuit in LeanSpa Appeal

We wrote previously about the FTC’s efforts to hold an affiliate network (LeadClick) and that network’s successor (CoreLogic) responsible for their role in working with LeanSpa, a marketer of dietary supplements. LeanSpa primarily marketed its diet products through “fake news” stories placed by affiliate marketers. Here is a link to an example of the “fake … Continue Reading

Celebrity Endorsement Disclosures on Social Media

We’ve blogged several times about the need to disclose when social media posts by endorsers, particularly celebrities, have been paid for. And there has been lots of guidance and discussion about how best to do that, particularly in shorter form media such as Twitter. For example, “The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking” provides … Continue Reading

Golden Rules: Diving Into Rule 40

The next issue in our series of blog posts about the Olympics considers “Rule 40,” which can get both advertisers and athletes into trouble. We think Rule 40 deserves a gold medal for generating buzz in the advertising world, and a silver for generating confusion. Rule 40 restricts participants in the Olympic Games (i.e., competitors, … Continue Reading

Keep Calm and Carry On: Data Protection Post Brexit

Brexit is likely to cause years of future uncertainty around data protection, including the legal mechanisms for data transfer to countries outside of the United Kingdom (“U.K.”). In the short term, there will be little to no impact on existing data transfer solutions implemented by companies that rely on the U.K. as an entry point into … Continue Reading
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