Advertising Law News and Analysis | May 4, 2018

4 min

FTC finally fills seats, CPSC revises age determination guidelines, and more in this issue of Advertising Law News & Analysis

FTC's Bench Has No Empty Seats

In the last week, four new commissioners were sworn into their role as agency heads at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), giving the FTC a full slate of commissioners for the first time in several years, write Venable partners Amy Mudge and Randy Shaheen in a recent blog post. The new commissioners – Republicans Noah Phillips and Chairman Joseph Simons, and Democrats Rebecca Slaughter and Rohit Chopra – join Commissioner Maureen Olhausen to fill all five seats atop the FTC. The fifth nominee by President Trump, Republican Christine Wilson, will take Commissioner Olhausen's seat pending her move to a judicial post at the Court of Federal Claims. The commissioners bring a diverse set of experiences to the agency, but, with the exception of Rohit Chopra, their specialty is primarily in antitrust law. As a result, it is unclear what the FTC's approach will be with respect to consumer protection issues going forward.

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CPSC Revises Age Determination Guidelines

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently updated its Age Determination Guidelines and is actively seeking industry comments on the proposed revisions. The Guidelines, which were last updated in 2002, are a resource provided by the Commission to help manufacturers and consumers understand the age ratings of children's products and toys and to ensure that products are properly labeled. Technology has evolved significantly since the last update of the Guidelines, and consumers' purchasing behavior and children's access to toys have likely changed as well. In a recent blog post, Venable partner Heather Bramble writes that CPSC's approach to the risk – and, by extension, the age-appropriateness – of connected devices is still a work in progress.

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From the Tool Kit:

Companies must understand their CPSC reporting obligations and engage with the Commission to mitigate acute product incidents. In the recent edition of the firm's Advertising Law Tool Kit, Venable partners Heather Bramble and Joe Shull explain what qualifies as "reportable information" and triggers companies' Section 15(b) reporting obligations. They also provide best practices for reporting such information to the CPSC. 


Running Social Media & Online Contests: What's Legal, What's Not

May 14, 2018 | Online

While running a contest or sweepstakes may seem like standard procedure to your clients, digital formats can pose new legal risks brands may not have faced in the past. During this 90-minute webinar presented by the National Constitution Center, Venable partner Melissa Steinman will discuss the laws that apply to sweepstakes, contests, and promotions in the U.S.; rules for running social promotions; and how new FTC enforcement policies, cases, and guidelines could affect your plans. 


May 16-17, 2018 | Tribeca 360 and Rooftop, New York, NY

Venable counsel Alexandra Megaris will moderate a session, "The Chief Compliance Officer Perspective," at COMPLY2018, The RegTech and Compliance Conference, on May 17, 2018 from 8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. ET. During this session, guests will learn from three prominent chief compliance officers (CCOs) practical approaches to the challenges and changes arising from new technologies. A few of the challenges faced by CCOs that will be discussed include third-party risks, new regulations, global expansion, and ever-changing regulatory environments. Learn how CCOs are overcoming these competing demands to keep their organizations ahead of risk while staying ahead of the competition. Use the discount code VENABLE20 for 20% off the current ticket price when you register for this event. 

How Blockchain Is Changing the Entertainment Industry

May 22, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA and online

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are creating buzz and excitement in Hollywood and in the economy in general. Venable attorneys Chris O'Brien and Shane Nix will host a panel discussion exploring what companies are doing with blockchain technology and how it is already affecting film, TV, music, and digital entertainment and media. 

ERA Government Affairs Fly-In and ERSP Summit

May 23, 2018 | Venable LLP, Washington, DC

The regulatory landscape for direct-to-consumer marketing is rapidly evolving, and the processes marketers use today to ensure compliance may not be adequate tomorrow. Venable attorneys Kelly DeMarchis Bastide, Ellen Berge, Roger Colaizzi, Len Gordon, Jeff Knowles, and the Honorable Mark Pryor will speak at this day-long event that will provide a first-hand look at the state of federal and state regulation and enforcement, as well as industry self-regulation.