Negative option programs in trouble with Congress, good news for food marketers, and more in this issue of Advertising Law News & Analysis

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Congress Takes Aim at Negative Option Programs

It is no secret that automatic renewal, or continuity or negative option programs, are on many regulators' hit lists, write Venable partners Amy Mudge and Randy Shaheen in a recent blog post. The Unsubscribe Act, introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year, seeks to tighten legal requirements for such programs even more than 2010's Restore Online Shoppers' Confidence Act (ROSCA), which has been a favorite tool of the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general when pursuing enforcement actions against companies marketing negative option offers. In the blog post, Mudge and Shaheen outline the new requirements the proposed legislation would impose.

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Seal of the US Federal Trade Commission

FTC Has Little to Say in Prepaid Card Advertising Case

For regular readers of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) press releases, the recent announcement that the FTC settled its lawsuit against prepaid card company NetSpend Corp. was interesting because of the substance – or lack thereof – of the announcement itself, write Venable attorneys Ellen Berge and Andrew Bigart in the April edition of the DRMA Voice. In four short sentences, the FTC simply stated that the advertiser agreed to settle, that the Commission vote approving the final order was 2-1, and that Acting Chair Maureen Ohlhausen issued a dissenting statement. The NetSpend press release leads us to ask the question: Is this how case announcements will be handled under the Ohlhausen administration?

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sunlight over wheat field

Springtime for Food Marketers?

The coming of spring has been accompanied by good news for two food marketers—ConAgra and Bumble Bee Foods—in their respective court fights in California, writes Venable partner Angel Garganta in a recent post to the firm's advertising law blog. While ConAgra secured dismissal of a putative class action with a federal preemption argument, Bumble Bee prevailed in a bench trial where allegations that its product label was deceptive were in question. Garganta writes that although these two results are promising for food marketers in California, only time will tell whether they are indicative of a greater trend.

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digital media

Understanding Digital Media's Impact on Brand Identity and IP Rights

Legal publication Lexis Practice Advisor recently published a Q&A with Venable partner Po Yi about how digital media – especially social media and native advertising – have changed how her clients approach brand and IP issues, the legal issues on which she is asked for counsel, and the velocity of her clients' advertising operations.

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digital library

In the Content Business? You Better Have Media Insurance

Companies that create, publish, or distribute media as part of their business should ensure that they carry "media insurance" coverage, writes Venable partner Linda Zirkelbach in a recent client alert. Many companies mistakenly believe that their general liability or Director's and Officer's (D&O) policies cover all issues. However, those policies often exclude certain types of claims frequently asserted against companies that create, publish, or distribute content. Learning of such exclusions only after a claim is made can be both painful and costly.

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Advertising Law Tool Kit

What's in Your Tool Kit

Both the FTC and state attorneys general continue to scrutinize consumer advertising that uses a "negative option" or "continuity plan" approach. In the most recent edition of the Firm's Advertising Law Tool Kit, Venable partner Len Gordon outlines best practices that could mean the difference between continuing success and recurring FTC problems.

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Response Expo

April 25-27, 2017 | San Diego, CA

Response Expo, the event for performance-based marketers, is the industry authority on actionable, trackable, and measurable marketing. Join Venable at this year's event in San Diego to network with marketing leaders, executives, and suppliers; learn about new advances in the industry; and connect with peers. Venable partner Ari Rothman will participate in the "The Consumer Journey – Post-purchase" panel at 10:00 a.m. (PDT) on Thursday, April 27.


ERA Government Affairs Fly-In

May 23-24, 2017 | Washington, DC

Join the leadership of the Electronic Retailing industry as it gathers in Washington, DC to discuss the political landscape and what to expect from Congress, regulators, and the new administration in the year ahead. The Fly-In offers a unique opportunity to play a vital role in educating national leaders about the electronic retailing business, while molding and protecting the industry's future.