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E-Books Series is a concentration of the most relevant information on e-commerce and Internet laws and regulations around the world. Conveniently divided in sections consisting of articles on specific topics, supplemented with links to the sources of law and regulations, e-Books provide an excellent and quick resource of knowledge on Internet and e-commerce issues and applicable principles of law. Electronically accessed supplemental materials are provided to enhance a dynamic informative process. E-Books are conveniently accessible online or through a downloadable version. A pocket size version of eBooks is also available. IBLS e-Book Series reserves all intellectual property rights. Any re-distribution of this material without appropriate license will be prohibited. For license inquiries write to e-books@ibls.com



 

Internet Advertising Law

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Internet Advertising Law

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 Introduction
 Chapter 1: Internet Advertising Rules
arrowDISCLOSURE WHEN ADVERTISING CONSUMER LEASES
arrowTHE ADVERTISEMENT GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE AND DISTANCE LEARNING INSTITUTIONS
arrowADVERTISING RULES FOR SEARCH ENGINE COMPANIES
arrowU.S. AGENCIES REGULATING ADVERTISING AND MARKETING
arrowADVERTISING THROUGH ONLINE SWEEPSTAKES, PROMOTIONAL WEBSITES, AND ONLINE LOTTERIES
arrowLEGAL GUIDELINES FOR ADVERTISING ON THE INTERNET
arrowONLINE WINE SALES
arrowONLINE MARKETING RULES IN THE UNITED STATES
arrowCLEAR AND CONSPICUOUS -ADVERTISING DISCLOSURES ON YOUR WEBSITE
 Chapter 2: Internet Advertising and Litigation
arrowFALSE ADVERTISING RESULTS IN CLASS ACTION LITIGATION
arrowFALSE ADVERTISING UNDER UNFAIR COMPETITION ACTIONS
arrowINTERNET ADVERTISEMENT: GOOGLE’S PAGERANK SOFTWARE SYSTEM AND THE ISSUE OF LIABILITY
arrowISSUES SURROUNDING PIGGYBACKING BRAND NAMES IN INTERNET SEARCH-ENGINE ADVERTISING
arrowCLASS ACTION LAWSUITS FILED AGAINST GOOGLE AND OTHER SEARCH ENGINES FOR PLACING ADVERTISEMENT ON UNDESIRABLE WEBPAGES
 Chapter 3: International Paradigm
arrowMARKETING AND ADVERTISING ON THE INTERNET UNDER BRAZILIAN CONSUMER LAW
arrowADVERTISING ON THE INTERNET UNDER FRENCH LAW
arrowCOMPARATIVE ADVERTISING ON THE INTERNET UNDER FRENCH LAW
arrowIRELAND GUIDELINES ON ADVERTISING STANDARDS
arrowEUROPEAN ADVERTISING STANDARDS ALLIANCE (EASA)
arrowTHE ADVERTISING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS ON THE INTERNET UNDER EU LAW
arrowBELGIUM REGULATION ON THE SENDING OF ADVERTISING BY ELECTRONIC MAIL
arrowSPONSORED LINKS AND THE BRAZILIAN ADVERTISING REGULATION
arrowASTROTURFING PROHIBITED BY THE EU DIRECTIVE ON UNFAIR COMMERCIAL PRACTICES
 Supplemental Documents
arrowGoogle Benefits from International Mobile Advertising
arrowTemporary Restraining Orders in Online Advertising Cases must be Obeyed Immediately
arrowFalse Advertising and Unfair Competition v. False Privacy Statements
arrowEurope says No to Online Advertisement Monopoly- Google-DoubleClick Deal
arrow98% Of British Emails Fake As Global Spam Doubles From 2006
arrowFTC Staff Proposes Online Behavioral Advertising Privacy Principles
arrowU.S. Trends on Attorney Internet Advertisment Rules
arrowMicrosoft-Yahoo: The Future of the Online Advertisement Market?
arrowCyprus Trademark Law and Registration Process
arrowThe Illegal Spamming Felony: Jurisdictional and Constitutional Questions
arrowInternet Pharmacies & Cross Border Mail Orders in the European Union
arrowOnline Classifieds and their Liability under the U.S. Fair Housing Act
arrowDoes the US CAN-SPAM Act Preempt Spam-Related State Regulations?
arrowNew Rule Provisions for the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act
arrowUnlawful Advertising Law in Spain
arrowMisleading Advertising under the EU Directive and Austria's Law
arrowSEC Announces the Imminent Release of Guidance on the Use of Websites for Corporate Reporting Purposes
arrowThe U.S. Telemarketing Rule
arrowHong Kong’s Regulation of Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Advertisement
  
 

ONLINE MARKETING VS. PRINT MARKETING

The Internet is becoming a more and more popular medium for marketing. Nowadays, most companies are using the Internet to sell and advertise their products and services. The Internet permits low-cost advertising, worldwide reach, and the possibility of interactive communications with potential customers. All of these are advantages of online marketing. At the same time, online marketing has some disadvantages of its own.

Before the Internet was invented, the printing industry was the most popular marketing medium. Print marketing mainly includes brochures, product catalogs, direct postal mail, product packaging, and trade journals, newspapers and magazines. Times have changed and the Internet has become popular among sellers and customers all over the world. The recent trend is that more and more customers are shifting towards the Internet. These customers have started using the Internet and search engines to find the products and services they want. Online marketing includes direct advertising on commercial on-line services, company websites, general product and service advertising on the World Wide Web, paid advertising on search engines or other websites, and direct solicitation of sales via e-mails.

Online marketing is not free from the long arm of the law. The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) applies consumer protection laws to print marketing as well as to online marketing to ensure that products and services are described truthfully in the advertisements.

Is there any difference between print and online marketing?
Online marketing is different from print marketing. The main reason for this is that the Internet is a highly interactive medium. It allows customers to take immediate action. Let's take an example. A customer comes across the newspaper advertisement that offers some discount on MP3 players. He makes a mental note of the contents and if the discount is strong enough, he may go to the shop and buy the product after two or three days. Let"s consider online marketing in same situation. A customer is keenly looking for MP3 player. He goes to the search engine, enters the phrase "MP3 Player" and gets the search result that shows where he can buy it. The customer clicks on the required link and buys the MP3 Player immediately with a credit card. Thus, online marketing not only grabs the attention of the customer but also leads them to buy the product.

The very nature of online marketing is global. The advertisement on the Internet will reach customers all over the world. A company in the United States can sell its product to customers in China with the help of the Internet. On the other hand, newspaper or magazine advertisements have limited local customers because of the limited editions. It's not practically possible to publish the newspaper in various languages. An advertisement on the Internet can be translated into any other language easily.

Are there any rules and regulations that are common to print marketing and online marketing?
The FTC Act prohibits unfair or deceptive advertising in any medium including the Internet. Section 5 of the FTC Act states that the advertising must be truthful and not mislead consumers. This Act is not limited to any particular medium. The FTC is playing an active role in protecting consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices in advertising, marketing, and sales online, as well as the same activities in print, television, telephone and radio.

Consumer protection laws that apply to commercial activities in other media also apply to online marketing. The FTC has stated that the rules and guidelines that apply to written advertisements or printed materials also apply to visual text displayed on the Internet. In addition, many FTC rules and guidelines are not limited to any particular medium used to disseminate claims or advertising, and therefore apply to online activities.

However, technology changes quickly. To cope with new complex issues in online advertising, the FTC has also passed specific regulation that governs advertising on the Internet. As per the regulation, companies are required to put clear and conspicuous disclosure on their websites. The FTC has even placed the burden on search engines to clearly and conspicuously disclose that certain companies have paid for higher placement in the display of search results.

Are there any disadvantages of online marketing?
Online marketing is expensive. The cost of software, hardware, website design and placement on the World Wide Web, maintenance of the website, etc. is high, especially compared to traditional print marketing. In order to be successful in online marketing, the name of the company should appear within the top 30 search results. Companies have to pay fees for getting top ranking in search results. This ultimately increases the cost of the product.

The Internet is still regarded as a source of gathering information rather than as a tool for buying the products and services. Customers still prefer buying personally and communicating directly with the shop keeper.

The level of competition is extremely high. A search engine tends to give many search results for a required term. The customer can visit many other sites before they click on the site of the company they are looking for.

What about security - Is paying on the Internet secure? Most of the customers do not want to use their credit cards to make a purchase. The fear of having their credit card information stolen deters them from buying online.

 

THE FTC ACT AND ADVERTISING ON THE INTERNET

The Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) sets the rules for online advertising under the authority of the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as the primary consumer protection agency. According to the FTCA, online advertisement, as any other paper-based or TV advertising, must be truthful and must not mislead consumers. The FTCA prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and they have filed lawsuits against online advertisers that engage in these practices. Additionally, United States law requires that written warranties for products sold online must be conspicuously placed at the point of purchase on the webpage. These regulations fall under Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 702 -Pre-Sale Availability of Written Warranty Terms.

The basic advertising rules established by the FTCA required that an online advertising (1) must be truthful and not misleading; (2) must have evidence to substantiate their claims; and (3) must not be unfair. Under the FTCA, the unique features of Internet advertisement (Ad) also may affect how an Ad and any required disclosure are evaluated by the FTC and other government authorities. The United States (U.S.) law requires that U.S. merchants selling products online must provide a warranty as to performance or quality of the goods sold. This warranty information must be placed in a conspicuous place where consumers can easily read it.

Although the number of companies advertising online and the number of consumers shopping online are soaring, fraud and deception may diminish consumer confidence in the e-marketplace. The FTC has zealously enforced its consumer protection laws, including those on online advertising, to ensure that online Ads truthfully describe products and services for the protection of the consumers as well as sellers, and, therefore, support a fair marketplace.

The FTCA's prohibition on "unfair or deceptive acts or practices" broadly covers advertising claims, marketing and promotional activities, and sales practices in general. But, the FTCA is not limited to any particular medium. Accordingly, the FTC's role in protecting consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices encompasses advertising, marketing, and sales online, as well as the same activities in print, television, telephone and radio. Since 1994, the FTC has brought numerous law enforcement actions to stop fraud and deception online and works to educate businesses about their legal obligations and consumers about their rights. The FTC has stated that all of the laws and regulations applicable to print advertisements, television and radio commercials, and telemarketing apply to the Internet as well. The FTC derives this view from a broad reading of the FTCA, which prohibits "unfair or deceptive acts or practices."

What constitute adequate disclosure for online advertising?
The disclosure requirements requirement for online advertising has confused advertisers. A question that must be considered is what constitutes adequate disclosure. The FTC provides specific guidelines to ensure that advertisements comply with the "clear and conspicuous" disclosure requirement. The Commission recommends that disclosures be placed as close to the body of the advertisement as possible and if there is adequate room then the disclosure should be on the same page as the advertisement. If there is not sufficient space, then the hyperlink to the disclosure should be labeled appropriately. Disclosure must be obvious and prominently displayed and should be accessible from marketing pages. The marketing elements should not distract the viewer's attention from the disclosures. The FTC requires audio disclosures for Internet audio Ads and video disclosures for Internet video Ads. All disclosures must be rendered in clear and plain English. Disclosures also must be accessible through every appropriate page on the company's website.

What factors must be evaluated to determine if the disclosure is clear and conspicuous?
There are certain factors that must be determined whether a particular disclosure is clear and conspicuous. These factors involve, (1) the placement of the disclosure in an Ad and its proximity to the claim. This qualifies the prominence of the disclosure; (2) whether items in other parts of the Ad distract attention from the disclosure; (3) whether the advertisement is so lengthy that the disclosure needs to be repeated; (4) whether disclosures in audio messages are presented in an adequate volume and cadence and visual disclosures appear for a sufficient duration; (5) whether the language of the disclosure is understandable to the intended audience. Advertisers must consider all of the factors and evaluate an actual disclosure in the context of the Ad as a whole.

Can I use a hyperlink to provide the warranty information in order to comply with these requirements?
Yes. A clearly labeled hyperlink located in a reasonable location would meet the standards of disclosure and terms of the warranty as required. This can be accomplished by means of text located in a reasonable proximity to the position an order is placed, or by using a clearly labeled hyperlink. The Federal Trade Commission provides examples of proper warranty labeling. The key is that the consumer can reasonably be able to review the warranty information before making the purchase. It also needs to be in a form that the consumer can save or print the warranty for reference or comparison purposes. This is particularly important for online sales if no paper warranty comes with the product or if the product is electronically delivered .

What are the criteria for providing warranties?
The rule on pre-sale availability of written warranty terms requires warranties on consumer products to be available before the purchase where the cost is more than $15. If an advertisement mentions a warranty for a product that can be bought through the mail, by phone, or by computer, the advertisement must explain to consumers how to get a copy of the warranty.

 

 

  

 
CHAPTER 1: Internet Advertising Rules

 
arrowDISCLOSURE WHEN ADVERTISING CONSUMER LEASES

The Federal Trade Commission has rules regulating the disclosure that is required for advertising of personal property leases. These rules apply to Internet advertising. This summary explains the terms that trigger the disclosure rules, the disclosure rules that apply, the special rules for advertising a lease rate, and the penalties that may be incurred for violations of the FTC rules.
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arrowTHE ADVERTISEMENT GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE AND DISTANCE LEARNING INSTITUTIONS

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issue some guidelines regulating private vocational and distance education schools. These guidelines are based on federal laws enforced by the FTC and applicable to schools that advertise on the Internet or offer courses via the Internet. This summary discusses what is deemed to be a deceptive use of a trade or business name for educational purposes.
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arrowADVERTISING RULES FOR SEARCH ENGINE COMPANIES

Search engine providers must follow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules on advertisement. The initial commercial practices of search engines were under scrutiny and received a warning from federal regulators over inadequate disclosure of paid links. The fact that consumers may be misled by certain websites being included in a search query based on the payment of fees, is likely to confuse the consumer about search result. Results generated based on income and not on relevancy concerns the FTC, especially when they do not observe proper disclosure.
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arrowU.S. AGENCIES REGULATING ADVERTISING AND MARKETING

The advertising industry is principally a self-regulated industry in the United States. However there are some government agencies that promulgate advertising regulations under the authority of the United States Code. Following, there is a list of U.S. government agencies regulating advertising.
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arrowADVERTISING THROUGH ONLINE SWEEPSTAKES, PROMOTIONAL WEBSITES, AND ONLINE LOTTERIES

Online sweepstakes, contests, and other prize-promotions are an effective way of marketing a website and attracting visitors. These types of promotions are subject to numerous legal guidelines and, therefore, websites using them should be carefully created to successfully bypass legal considerations. Legal guidelines for these promotional sites are found in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and local consumer laws. For instance, state considerations on the type of contest used, and whether there is an age restriction must be evaluated when creating Internet sweepstakes, contests, or any other prize-promotion site.
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arrowLEGAL GUIDELINES FOR ADVERTISING ON THE INTERNET

Online advertising must follow the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) guidelines. For instance, the general rule is that online advertisement must be truthful and must not mislead consumers. The advertisements must be considered as a whole, and advertisers must provide consumers with a reasonable disclosure that includes truthful and verifiable information that will help consumers make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase the product or services offered.
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arrowONLINE WINE SALES

Restrictions on Internet sales of wine have become anti-competitive and are considered to hinder interstate commerce. The Internet has immense potential as an engine for commerce, but some states have laws that, in effect, prohibit online sales of certain products such as wine and cars. If these state laws have a discriminatory effect on interstate commerce then they will likely be struck down on constitutional grounds.
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arrowONLINE MARKETING RULES IN THE UNITED STATES

Online marketing should always state the truth and not mislead consumers. It must ensure the protection of businesses and consumers and preserve the integrity of the Internet as an advertising medium. Online marketing involves research and active outflow of information. Combining offline and online techniques can double profits. In order to allow business to benefit while protecting consumers from the perils of this new arena, many advocates are encouraging the passage of an "Internet Sales Rule" to offer consumers the same protection in online purchases as they have in other distance sale situations, such as purchases made by telephone.
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arrowCLEAR AND CONSPICUOUS -ADVERTISING DISCLOSURES ON YOUR WEBSITE

The legal rule that advertising, including Internet advertising, must be “clear” and “conspicuous” is deemed to apply to websites used as advertising tools, so that consumers have access to terms and performance information before committing to announced products or services.
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CHAPTER 2: Internet Advertising and Litigation

 
arrowFALSE ADVERTISING RESULTS IN CLASS ACTION LITIGATION

Class actions have been used by consumers to directly seek readdress for deceptive advertising practices by U.S. merchants and manufacturers. A renowned case was the M130 case against Palm in 2002. A class action including purchasers of the M130 sued Palm and stated that Palm misled these customers into believing that its M130 personal digital assistance could support more than 65,000 colors. This claim for false advertising stated that there was false and deceptive advertising that caused these consumers to purchase the M130 Palm.
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arrowFALSE ADVERTISING UNDER UNFAIR COMPETITION ACTIONS

False advertising occurs when a defendant misrepresents the nature and the characteristic of goods to consumers. The use of false and misleading statements to mislead consumers is actionable; however, consumers are not permitted to directly bring actions even though they are the focus of this law. Most of false advertisement actions are brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against advertisers and after consumer have filed complaints before the FTC. Yet, false advertisement under unfair competition laws can be actionable by those businesses that have suffered an injury caused by other business’ false advertisement.
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arrowINTERNET ADVERTISEMENT: GOOGLE’S PAGERANK SOFTWARE SYSTEM AND THE ISSUE OF LIABILITY

As to June 2006, United States advertisers had spent US$5.8 billion in Internet advertisement; 27 percent more than that spent in 2005. Some predict that the growth on Internet advertisement is so large that some day companies’ marketing budgets may shift to 100% internet advertisement. “This record spending was once again led by ads linked to Web search results," said the Interactive Advertising Bureau. No doubt, Internet advertisement is a growing industry and every day more companies are recurring to the Internet to offer and sell their products. But, how do those selling advertisement convince their clients of the effectiveness of their marketing plan and how do those selling over the Internet survive in cyberspace? What statistics are shown to convince a company to invest millions of dollars in Internet advertisement? PageRank is one of those systems used by advertisement agencies to sell and e-commerce companies to buy Internet advertisement. Google, as the company using PageRank software, has been sued for the use of this system under the theory of ‘tortuous interference with contractual relations.’
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arrowISSUES SURROUNDING PIGGYBACKING BRAND NAMES IN INTERNET SEARCH-ENGINE ADVERTISING

A significant number of companies that advertise on Internet search engines are complaining, and litigating, over a practice known as piggybacking. Piggybacking occurs when competitors include recognizable names in their search-engine Ads (advertisement) to lure consumers to their Websites. In an effort to restrain piggybacking, lawsuits have been filed by major companies against their competitors as well as against Google. Issues relating to trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising, however, remain unsettled in the Internet environment and there is no clear legal standard regarding the practice of piggybacking.
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arrowCLASS ACTION LAWSUITS FILED AGAINST GOOGLE AND OTHER SEARCH ENGINES FOR PLACING ADVERTISEMENT ON UNDESIRABLE WEBPAGES

Advertisers have launched a number of lawsuits against well-known search engine companies such as Yahoo! and Google, accusing them of placing their Ads on “parked Web pages” and other undesirable locations without prior notification to advertisers. The claimants in these cases argue that this unfavorable placement is financially detrimental to them and results in unjust enrichment for the search engine companies. Google and Yahoo! are reportedly taking steps to alleviate advertisers’ concerns and, in the interim, two class action lawsuits against Google remain pending based on Google’s placement of Ads in this manner.
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CHAPTER 3: International Paradigm

 
arrowMARKETING AND ADVERTISING ON THE INTERNET UNDER BRAZILIAN CONSUMER LAW

The main principles of consumer protection are found in the Brazilian Federal Law number 8.078, of 1990, known as the Brazilian Consumer Defense Code (CDC), specifically on what refers to marketing and advertising on the Internet.
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arrowADVERTISING ON THE INTERNET UNDER FRENCH LAW

Advertising on the Internet, which is increasingly popular in France, involves certain legal risks. Like Internet service providers, advertising publishers might be held responsible for the content of the advertisements communicated by third parties.
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arrowCOMPARATIVE ADVERTISING ON THE INTERNET UNDER FRENCH LAW

Although not prohibited under French law, comparative advertising is strictly regulated by the law of January 18, 1992, which also applies to the Internet. However, France will have to adjust the existing legislation in order to implement the more lenient rules set forth by the 97/55 European Directive dated October 6, 1997 introducing new provisions on comparative advertising.
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arrowIRELAND GUIDELINES ON ADVERTISING STANDARDS

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (“ASAI”) is an independent regulatory body established by the advertising industry. More than 80% of participants in the industry are members of ASAI. Members may not publish an advertisement or undertake a promotion that does not comply with the Code of Advertising Standards or the Code of Sales Promotion Practice (the “Codes”). ASAI's advertising guidelines while not considered rules per se impose liabilities on those businesses that violate them.
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arrowEUROPEAN ADVERTISING STANDARDS ALLIANCE (EASA)

The European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) is a non-profit organization that regulates Internet advertising. EASA is concerned with promoting self-regulation and mobilizing cross-border complaints through a very specific procedure. It has demonstrated that it will promote and support effective advertising regulations in Europe in cooperation with other local advertising authorities.
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arrowTHE ADVERTISING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS ON THE INTERNET UNDER EU LAW

The prevention of tobacco consumption is a public health priority in Member States, and many have chosen to limit and regulate tobacco promotion in order to reduce the related consumption. Based on this statement and also on evidence that a comprehensive ban on the advertising of tobacco products would lead to a fall in consumption and to a reduction in the number of deaths caused by smoking, the European Union has decided to strictly regulate the advertising of tobacco. On December 2, 2002, the European Council has reached a political agreement on a proposed directive to ban tobacco advertising.
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arrowBELGIUM REGULATION ON THE SENDING OF ADVERTISING BY ELECTRONIC MAIL

This summary describes the regulation applicable to the sending of advertising by electronic mail in Belgium. It particularly focuses on a Royal Decree that provides for exceptions to the principle that the prior consent of the recipient is required before sending advertising by electronic mail.
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arrowSPONSORED LINKS AND THE BRAZILIAN ADVERTISING REGULATION

A 2007-Brazilian report emitted by Jupiter Research stated that advertisement through search engines continue to grow more quickly than any another online marketing modality. Global online advertisement through search engines is expected to reach total revenue of 5.5 billion dollar by the year 2009. Other interesting example is the Hitwise survey; Hitwise is a company specialized in measuring Internet traffic. The Hitwise survey showed the considerable increase of Internet visitors during the 2008 Olympic Games, as the table below shows, Increases to Olympics-related Sites, U.S., Aug. 7 to Aug. 14. Site URL Week-over-week Increase, Olympics.com olympics.com 4,374%; Sports Illustrated ympicssportsillustrated.cnn.com/Olympics 3,536%; NBC Olympics nbcolympics.com 2,567%; Athens 2004 athens2004.com 2,007%; Sportsline Olympics sportsline.com/Olympics 312%. These numbers demonstrate that there is an immense potential when aiming to Internet users who use search engines. Visibility has its price in the Internet for those advertising products and services.
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arrowASTROTURFING PROHIBITED BY THE EU DIRECTIVE ON UNFAIR COMMERCIAL PRACTICES

"Astroturfing" is using Websites to create a false impression of grass-roots support for a product or service, where testimonies are intended to look like grass-roots campaigns, but are entirely artificial. The Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices (“Directive”) is the EU’s attempt to protect consumers from victimization by such false advertising on the Internet. Under the Directive, individuals or companies who pose as consumers by writing fake blogs, providing fake testimonies on consumer rating Websites, or writing fake book reviews, risk criminal and civil liability in European Union Member States.
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SUPPLEMENTAL DOCUMENTS:

 
arrowGoogle Benefits from International Mobile Advertising

Google plans to make money through mobile Internet by offering text-based advertising, among other services, a company executive said during a recent interview. The California search engine is said to be rushing to offer flawless mobile search through the creation of a Google phone reportedly slated to be in the market by 2008.
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arrowTemporary Restraining Orders in Online Advertising Cases must be Obeyed Immediately

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the defendant who was allegedly infringing plaintiff’s trademark (trademark owners) through online advertisement. Some weeks after the injunction and TRO were issued, defendant was still using plaintiff’s trademark on defendant’s website. Trademark owners moved for contempt for failure to comply with the Court’s order and the court held, “Persons subject to an injunctive order issued by a court with jurisdiction are expected to obey that decree until it is modified or reversed, even if they have proper grounds to object to the order.”
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arrowFalse Advertising and Unfair Competition v. False Privacy Statements

According a recent decision by an Oregon U.S. District Court, companies' false privacy statements on the Internet that provide those companies an advantage over their competitors may be actionable under the Lanham Act as misleading advertising and unfair competition. In other words, companies may be protecting your privacy by sneaking into each others" privacy statements and making sure those statements do not create an unfair market advantage for them. By all means, this is an excellent ruling for the protection of private information; but, its impact on the U.S. lawsuit-hectic culture is still to be seen.
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arrowEurope says No to Online Advertisement Monopoly- Google-DoubleClick Deal

The European Consumers Organization- Beuc, opposes Google's acquisition of DoubleClick and so expressed in its letter to the EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Google, the search engine giant, has informed that it intends to buy the digital marketing company DoubleClick for US$3.1 billion. Opponents fear both massive violation of privacy rights and monopoly in the online advertisement market. Just like Beuc, other European countries have opposed this transaction as well.
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arrow98% Of British Emails Fake As Global Spam Doubles From 2006

Top Internet security firm Ironport Systems has just published a study stating 98% of British emails are now composed of spurious messages and that the amount of spam sent around the globe has increased by 100% in just a single year. The study is called the "Internet Security Trends Report 2008," and it estimates that UK Internet mail accounts receive 20 billion spam emails on a daily basis, twice the rate over 2006.
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arrowFTC Staff Proposes Online Behavioral Advertising Privacy Principles

To address important consumer privacy concerns associated with online behavioral advertising, the staff of the Federal Trade Commission today released a set of proposed principles to guide the development of self-regulation in this evolving area. Behavioral advertising is the tracking of a consumer's activities online - including the searches the consumer has conducted, the Web pages visited, and the content viewed – in order to deliver advertising targeted to the individual consumer"s interests.
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arrowU.S. Trends on Attorney Internet Advertisment Rules

In the United States, attorneys are subject to their State Bar (attorneys' regulatory entity) advertising rules. United States (U.S.) attorneys are regulated by strict and detailed advertising rules that contrast with reduced advertising regulations imposed on attorneys in Civil Law Systems. Nonetheless, despite this heavy U.S. regulatory scheme lawyers" advertising is afforded First Amendment Constitutional protection as the U.S. Supreme Court case Bates v. State Bar of Arizona 433 U.S. 350 (1977) held. Since Internet has expanded advertising options for law firms and most Internet expressions enjoy First Amendment protection as well, the obvious concern is how attorney Internet advertising, in all its forms, is regulated? This article provides examples of some State Bar associations’ policies on the issue of Internet advertising for attorneys.
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arrowMicrosoft-Yahoo: The Future of the Online Advertisement Market?

Yahoo's rejection to Microsoft"s offer is officially expected later today, Monday, February 11, 2008. Two weeks ago, Microsoft posted an unsolicited offer to purchase Yahoo for US$44.6 billion (about $31 per share); an offer many consider an attempt by Microsoft to compete with Google in the online advertisement market. Last Saturday, February 9, the Wall Street Journal reported that after Friday’s meeting, Yahoo’s board of directors deemed that Microsoft’s offer per share "massively undervalues the web pioneer's true worth.” Unofficial sources said Yahoo might consider an offer above $40 per share even though Yahoo’s shares have not traded for $40 in the past two years. Indeed, Yahoo’s shares have steadily fallen during the past two years.
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arrowCyprus Trademark Law and Registration Process

Some offshore centres are currently the hosting jurisdiction of e-commerce businesses. For this reason, in addition to competent telecommunication infrastructure, proper tax regimes, established banking services, among others; adequate intellectual property laws like trademarks are essential for e-commerce businesses. Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean and former British colony. Its official languages are Greek and Turkish and its currency is the Euro. Cyprus has a population of 788,457 inhabitants and a GDP (PPP) of 24,497 billion. Cyprus trademark law is cited as "Trade Mark Law of Cyprus.” This article introduces this key legislation to the reader and provides information on how to register a trademark according the Cyprus Trade Mark Law.
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arrowThe Illegal Spamming Felony: Jurisdictional and Constitutional Questions

A recent decision from the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the felony conviction of an illegal spammer under the Virginia criminal statute. The Virginia Supreme Court held that the Virginia antispamming statute does not violate defendant's free speech rights. Defendant had been indicated and convicted by the trial court of three counts under the Virginia Anti-Spam Act. The Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed defendant"s conviction and 9-year prison sentence; afterward, defendant appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court which rendered its decision last Friday, February 29th. This decision becomes the first decision from a state supreme court upholding the constitutionality of a state anti spam statute and addressing the key issue of jurisdiction for spam cases.
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arrowInternet Pharmacies & Cross Border Mail Orders in the European Union

Various European Community laws are applicable to the issue of Internet pharmacies and their supply of medical products to buyers located in other Member States. For instance, the E-commerce Directive 2000/31/EC; the provisions of the Distance Sales Directive 97/7/EC; Directive 2001/83/EC regarding medicinal products for human use; Directive 92/28/EEC on advertising of medicinal products in the EU and currently part of the Community Code; and laws applicable to the free movement of goods throughout the Member States. Besides these community laws, domestic laws of the Member States may also play an essential role in deciding any particular case on Internet pharmacies and their supply of products to individuals located in other EU countries. This article presents the EU policies on this topic as enunciated by Court of Justice of the European Community in a 2003 case (2003 ECR I-14887).
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arrowOnline Classifieds and their Liability under the U.S. Fair Housing Act

Internet law is definitely a 'legal melting pot.' Traditional statutes are now being applied to e-commerce models. For instance, the anti-discrimination clauses of the United States ("US”) Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) have been examined in the case of online classifieds companies like Craigslist. And, a clause under the Communication Decency Act (applicable to explicit content) has been applied to this case. Housing discrimination is illegal under the FHA and so is discriminatory housing advertising. Craigslist is a US online publisher of classifieds. Craigslist was sued by a group of Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights who alleged Craigslist was liable under the FHA for publishing discriminatory housing advertising (“Ads”) like, “No Minorities,” “Requirements: Clean Godly Christian Male,” etc. The US District Court granted summary judgment for Craigslist and the Civil Rights Attorneys appealed. The US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has rendered is final decision affirming the District Court"s ruling and providing precedential analysis of the FHA anti- discriminatory clause on online housing Ads. This article briefs this land-marking decision.
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arrowDoes the US CAN-SPAM Act Preempt Spam-Related State Regulations?

Decisions in several United States ("US") federal cases suggest that the US CAN-SPAM Act does not preempt spam-related state regulations. State universities and other government institutions across the US have implemented anti-spam policies and adopted spam-blocking systems. Spam-blocking systems are commercial or specifically-designed software developed to block unsolicited commercial e-mails. Blocking spam has not been considered a violation of the Freedom of Speech under the US Constitution. Further, some private networks, following their in-house IT policies, may inadvertently provide differential treatment when blocking unsolicited e-mails. This differential treatment of spam has not been considered a violation of the Equal Protection clause. These three issues, the preemption clause of the CAN-SPAM Act, the First Amendment Freedom of Speech, and the Equal Protection Clause, have been considered in the context of state anti-spam actions.
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arrowNew Rule Provisions for the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act

On May 12, 2008, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved new rule provisions that clarify the CAN-SPAM requirements and considered 3 years of public comments. The new rule provisions were already published in the U.S. Federal Register and will become effective 45 days after their publication. The United States CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is the federal law regulating commercial e-mail advertisement. It establishes the rules for commercial e-mails, typifies the practices that constitute spam, sanctions spammers, and provides consumer rights regarding unsolicited e-mail advertisement. Special provisions within the CAN-SPAM Act introduce rules on e-mail marketing of adult content sites.
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arrowUnlawful Advertising Law in Spain

Traditional advertising rules gained relevance in the online commercial world. Greater advertisement exposure and especial government enforcement units are some of the reasons that prompted assessment of advertising rules when advertising online. Most countries have applied traditional advertisement rules to online advertisement; particularly, those rules regarding unlawful and deceptive advertising. This article explores Spain's traditional unlawful advertising rules equally apply to Internet advertisement.
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arrowMisleading Advertising under the EU Directive and Austria's Law

Council Directive 84/450/EEC regulates misleading and comparative advertising in the European Union. Even though must European Union (EU) Member States have adopted this Directive within their domestic legislation, some conflicts between Directive 84/450/ECC and domestic marketing laws arise. This article illustrates on the conflicts between the EU Directive on misleading and comparative advertising and its Austrian counterpart.
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arrowSEC Announces the Imminent Release of Guidance on the Use of Websites for Corporate Reporting Purposes

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is on the brink of issuing guidance to publicly trading companies that wish to disclose their corporate reports by posting them on their respective Websites. Under the new guidance, documents reported by means of posting the information on the Web will have the same legal force as documents transmitted via traditional paper reports or via PDF reports on EDGAR. At the same time, the guidance will provide specific requirements that companies will have to meet to comply with Regulation FD.
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arrowThe U.S. Telemarketing Rule

Telemarketing includes soliciting services through telephone calls and fax messages. Because U.S. businesses are increasingly using telemarketing services to advertise their products and services, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) adopted the Telemarketing Rule (16 C.F.R. pt. 310) in 1995, and subsequent amendments, to protect consumers from the risks associated with this practice. The Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (47 U.S.C. § 227), is another federal law that complements the Telemarketing Rule.
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arrowHong Kong’s Regulation of Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Advertisement

Hong Kong's legislation well regulates the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages. In May 2007, Hong Kong enacted the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance (UEMO), to regulate all forms of commercial electronic messages sent with or to the "Hong Kong link” (.hk). UEMO is supplemented by the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Regulation (UEMR) enacted by Hong Kong in December 2007. In addition to UEMO and UEMR, Hong Kong"s Telecommunications Authority approved a code of practice to regulate practical aspects of commercial electronic messages and serve as the users’ guidelines. Both Hong Kong’s commercial advertisers and foreign companies advertising in Hong Kong should be aware of this legislation because it applies to advertisement sent from Hong Kong or received in Hong Kong, either by individuals or companies.
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