Empty seats at the FTC, gag clauses to prevent negative reviews, and more in this issue of Advertising Law News & Analysis

5 min

Then There Were Three Two

The Supreme Court isn’t the only chamber in town with seats to fill. Since Commissioner Brill’s departure last March, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been down to three sitting Commissioners. Last week Chairwoman Ramirez announced her resignation, effective February 10. Unless the new administration can secure confirmation for new Commissioners quickly, the FTC will operate in uncharted territory with just two Commissioners. Venable partners Amy Mudge and Randy Shaheen explore what this means in a recent post to the firm’s advertising law blog.

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Congress Gangs up on Gaggers

Word of mouth has always been a powerful marketing tool, writes Venable partner Randy Shaheen in the January edition of the DRMA Voice, but it is also a double-edged sword. The potential negative impact of unfavorable reviews has led some companies to include so-called gag clauses that prohibit negative reviews in their contractual provisions.

The FTC has pursued enforcement actions targeting such clauses, but last December Congress stepped in and passed the Review Fairness Act of 2016 (CRFA). The law essentially ends the use of…

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One Last Wish for the FTC

The moving trucks have arrived at the White House, and the porta potties, security barriers, and bleachers are in place. It's time for the transfer of power to a new administration, and Venable partners Amy Mudge and Randy Shaheen have one final item on their FTC wishlist.

This has less to do with education than it does with enforcement policy. Although the FTC creates tremendous educational materials for businesses and consumers, Mudge and Shaheen write that they would love to see the Commission do a much better job of…

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Commercial Co-Ventures

Commercial Co-Ventures (CCVs) are a popular form of promotion in which a for-profit marketer promises to donate to a charity based on the sale or use of a product or service. Although the claim is an easy one to make, structuring and executing legally compliant CCVs can be very tricky. In this section, Venable partner Melissa Steinman explains the potential pitfalls of CCVs and shares some helpful tips.

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Consumer Financial Services 2017 Outlook: Post-Inauguration Day Insights Webinar

January 24, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET - Webinar

Join Venable LLP for a complimentary webinar on the "Consumer Financial Services 2017 Outlook" on Tuesday, January 24, 2017. Members of Venable's Consumer Financial Services Practice will review the current state of federal and state consumer financial protection law and policy and outline what you and your company need to know about what's ahead. During the webinar, the speakers will share their experiences from the front lines and offer strategies to help you navigate the evolving legal and regulatory landscape.


Digital Entertainment World (DEW)

February 1-2, 2017 | Los Angeles, CA

Join Venable at DEW, the annual expo for the digital entertainment industry held in Marina Del Rey, California. DEW is the only conference that is inclusive of the complete digital content ecosystem, with the mission to provide a platform for leading intellectual property rights holders from video, music, games, and publishing, from which they can access the entire digital value-chain of technology and service providers, digital distributors, and device manufacturers, and build the partnerships necessary to create and monetize digital content across all significant platforms. Be sure to attend Venable partner Nicholas DePalma's panel, "How Augmented Reality & Geolocation Are Shaping the Future of Games," on February 2 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Tamany Bentz's panel directly after, on "Derivative Works and User Generated Content."


American Bar Association (ABA) Consumer Protection Conference

February 2, 2017 | Atlanta, GA

The field of consumer protection law continues to evolve and expand to keep pace with innovations in advertising and ever-emerging approaches to delivering products and services. Don't miss this exciting, comprehensive consumer protection program featuring leading experts, academics, and in-house practitioners, as well as enforcement officials from the U.S. and other key jurisdictions. Topics include the latest developments in such areas as claims substantiation for evolving technology, privacy and data protection, class action efforts, and enforcement policy and initiatives. Panelists will discuss practical implications arising from these latest developments, offer best practices for in-house counsel, and discuss and debate issues arising from the latest domestic and international enforcement actions.


Electronic Retailing Association's Great Ideas Summit 2017

February 27 - March 1 | San Juan, Puerto Rico

Join Venable at The Great Ideas Summit, an annual conference that brings together the direct response industry's most influential leaders to hold high-powered meetings, close global deals, and develop new digital marketing strategies.


Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Legal Conference

February 27-28, 2017 | San Diego, CA

The GMA Legal Conference is the preeminent gathering for legal professionals in the food, beverage, and consumer product industry. Top in-house counsel, defense attorneys, and regulatory experts will cover a wide array of important and timely legal issues, with an emphasis on protecting your brands from litigation risks and complying with government regulations. Be sure to join Venable at the kick-off luncheon on Monday, February 27, followed by a class action litigation panel moderated by Venable partner Angel Garganta. We’ll also host a roundtable discussing on marketing and advertising law, featuring Venable partners Randy Miller and Randy Shaheen.