Antitrust & Trade Regulation Communications & Media Consumer Protection

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Beyond “Clear and Conspicuous”: FTC Workshop Highlights Issues Related to Testing of Consumer Disclosures

On advertisements, websites, and legal documents, disclosures are everywhere. But how do consumers notice, understand, and use disclosures in their decision-making? And how can businesses and advertisers effectively design...more

House of Representatives Passes Consumer Review Fairness Act and Better Online Ticket Sales Acts

The House of Representatives passed two bills last week relevant to the advertising industry: the Consumer Review Fairness Act and the Better On-line Ticket Sales Act (“BOTS Act”). The Consumer Review Fairness Act is...more

FTC sets new standard for mobile app location tracking – indirectly

If you have wondered how users' physical locations can be tracked when they use mobile devices, a new white paper explains the process. It's actually an FTC complaint, and thus a white paper only indirectly. But...more

Update: Fundamental Change to U.S. Warranty Law: Consumer Warranties Can Soon be Posted Online

Recent changes to the federal statute governing warranties on consumer products will make it easier and more cost-effective for consumer product manufacturers and suppliers to satisfy the federally-mandated warranty...more

Ninth Circuit Removes FTC From The Beat: Agency Lacks Authority To Police Common Carriers Engaged In Non-Common Carrier Activities

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) asserted broad regulatory authority over the Internet and broadband Internet service providers when it reclassified Internet access service as a “common carrier” service under...more

Second Circuit Blazes New Trail in Set-Top Box Cases: Cable Service and Boxes Are Not Separate Products

Since 2008, cable customers have been suing cable operators across the country claiming operators violate the antitrust laws by forcing customers to lease set-top boxes from the operator to access “premium” cable services. ...more

Ninth Circuit Strips FTC of ‘Activities-Based’ Jurisdiction over Common Carriers

The FTC has no jurisdiction over common carriers even when they engage in non-common carrier activity, according to a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit opinion. In FTC v. AT&T Mobility, No. 15-16585 (9th...more

Of “Lunch Stands and Merry-Go-Rounds”: Ninth Circuit’s Rejection of FTC Authority Over “Throttling” Could Have Far Reaching...

On August 29th, a Ninth Circuit panel unanimously held that the FTC has no power to challenge “throttling” of unlimited data plan customers by mobile broadband providers as an “unfair or deceptive act.” The panel found that...more

Alleged Mortgage Modification and Debt Relief Scammers to Pay FTC $13.5 Million

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida had granted a summary judgment motion against various businesses, law firms and individuals...more

Advertising Law - August 2016 #3

ANA, 4As Battle Over Transparency Guidance - Two industry groups are engaging in a public battle over transparency. The dispute began when a joint task force was formed between the American Association of...more

Ninth Circuit Rules All Common Carriers Beyond Reach of FTC’s Consumer Protection Authority

In a decision that could significantly impact the scope of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on August 29, 2016,...more

FTC Complaint Counsels Caution When Settling Disputes With Competitors

The Federal Trade Commission recently sued 1-800 Contacts, Inc., the largest contact lens retailer in the United States, charging it with restraining competition in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act,...more

Privacy Watchdogs File Complaint With FTC over WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy Change

Yesterday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”) and the Center for Digital Democracy (“CDD”) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against WhatsApp, Inc. According to the complaint, WhatsApp posted...more

CFPB to Participate in FTC Workshop on Consumer Disclosures

On September 15th, the FTC will hold a workshop to examine the testing and evaluation of disclosures that companies make to consumers about advertising claims, privacy practices, and other information. The FTC’s workshop...more

2 for 1—Private and Government Actions Regarding Price Comparisons

Amazon made recent news for pricing items without stating a list price or whether an article was on sale or was offered at a discounted cost. The policy was based on the idea that Amazon's numerous Prime members would buy...more

Final Order against Practice Fusion Approved by FTC

On August 16, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the final order resolving its privacy complaints against Practice Fusion. The complaint alleged that Practice Fusion “misled consumers by soliciting reviews for...more

Less Is More: European Commission Gives Boost to the Collaborative Economy

Sometimes, what’s omitted is more important than what’s included. And never more so than in relation to EU regulation and compliance. Providers of peer-to-peer platforms may have feared that a desire by the EU to...more

Digital Single Market Update: European Commission Concludes No New Regulation for Online Platforms

Online platforms have transformed the way we live and work and, as a result, platform operators have become some of the world’s leading brands. But the EU is concerned that Europe is not currently keeping pace with the U.S....more

FTC Announces Dog Food False Advertising Settlement

Last Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it had settled with Mars Petcare US, Inc. (“Mars Petcare”) concerning allegedly false advertising claims relating to its Eukanuba brand dog food. ...more

DOJ Rejects Modifications of ASCAP, BMI Consent Decrees

On August 4, 2016, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) rejected changes to the 1941 consent decrees with ASCAP and BMI. These decrees have been in place since 1941, when the DOJ settled antitrust claims with ASCAP and BMI...more

Advertising Law - August 2016

Court Awake To Plaintiff’s Deceptive Sleep-Tracking Claims Against Fitbit - A challenge to Fitbit’s claims that certain models of its exercise monitoring device tracked users’ sleep patterns will move forward after a...more

Meteoric Rise Of Pokémon Go Spurs Privacy Concerns

2.7 Million Dollar HIPAA Settlement –  Last week, Oregon Health & Science University (“OHSU”) agreed to pay $2.7 million to resolve potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996...more

Advertising Law - July 2016 #4

Sen. Franken Hits Pause on Pokémon GO - After the Pokémon GO app was downloaded approximately 7.5 million times in the United States alone in its first week of release, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), the chairman of the...more

The FTC Social Media Consent Order Against SmartClick

The FTC continues its efforts to combat deceptive social media advertising. In June 2016, the FTC brought an enforcement action against SmartClick Media LLC and its owner. The FTC alleged that SmartClick engaged in the...more

FTC Acts Against Warner Brothers’ YouTube Promotion Campaign: Disclosure of Affiliation Below the “Fold” Is Not Enough

Last week, the FTC announced an agreement containing a consent order, subject to final approval, resolving its claims against Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc. (“Warner Bros.”) for the company’s misleading use of social...more

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