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A Blog About FTC regulations and happenings

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is currently hearing an appeal of a district court decision, which if upheld would have enormous ramifications for freedom of speech and the online service provider safe harbor under the Communications Decency Act (CDA). TheDirty.com is a website run by Nik Lamas-Richie. The site allows users to submit gossip about anyone or anything and the site currently features hundreds of thousands of comments on a wide range of topics and users can also freely post comments on stories that are published on the website. Lamas-Richie then selects some of the user posts, and sometimes adds a little commentary to the user submission, which he then posts to the site. Sarah Jones, a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader, was featured twice on TheDirty.com including allegations that she was promiscuous and that she had a sexually-transmitted disease. Jones then sued TheDirty.com and Lamas-Richie alleging defamation, libel and invasion of privacy. The first trial resulted in a hung jury, but in the second trial in July... Read more

The FTC held a workshop on Wednesday to examine the blurring lines of advertisements and content in digital media today. Executives from a myriad of professions gathered to discuss how sponsored content in digital publications takes form and affects the consumer. Native advertising, or sponsored content, is the practice of masking advertising to look like… Read More

On November 12, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), in a 4-0 vote, denied AssertID’s application for approval of a proposed verifiable parental consent (“VPC”) method under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”).  Under the FTC’s COPPA rule, covered online websites and services must obtain “verifiable parental consent” (“VPC”) before collecting personal information from… Read More

For-profit education needs rebranding. With the recent appointment of Michael Dakduk as key advisor to the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the sector has made a step in the right direction. The onslaught of negative news against for-profit educators has severely impacted industry growth. Recent reports on drops in enrollment (and thus earnings)… Read More

A lawsuit filed in Massachusetts state court recently raised the issue of whether a former employee’s LinkedIn post announcing a new job could violate an anti-solicitation clause of a non-compete contract with the former employer. In KNF&T Inc. v. Muller, staffing company KNF&T filed suit against its former vice president, Charlotte Muller, for violating a… Read More

Last week, a federal judge in California declined to grant a summary judgment motion to LegalZoom.com, Inc., in its lawsuit accusing rival Rocket Lawyer, Inc. over claims of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false and misleading advertising that focus on the use of the word “free” in advertisements by Rocket Lawyer. LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer… Read More

In September, 40 state attorneys general wrote to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking the agency to take all available measures to issue regulations on the advertising, ingredients, and sale to minors of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or e-cigs. The full text of the letter is available here. The FDA has set… Read More

Google recently announced that it would be taking action to demote websites that profit from the use of mugshot photos. These mugshot sites compile booking photographs taken after people’s arrests and publish them along with the arrestees’ names and information concerning the charges against them. Individuals who want their mugshot and arrest record deleted from… Read More

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October 11, 2013

FTC Takes Tough Action Against ‘Scareware’ Tactics

By: Nicole Kardell

A great way to make money is to develop a product or service that responds to a consumer want or demand, and then to stay ahead of prospective competitors by offering better pricing or quality. A not-so-great way to make money is to convince consumers to buy a product or service that they don’t really… Read More

On October 3, 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced it had filed a complaint in federal district court in Washington state against a leading debt-settlement payment processor, Meracord LLC, and its CEO.  The CFPB contends that Meracord helped third parties collect millions of dollars in illegal upfront fees from consumers. The complaint alleged violations… Read More

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