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A Blog About FTC regulations and happenings

On June 21, 2012, in FCC v. Fox Television Stations Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s effort to apply its indecency standard to brief broadcasts of nudity and “fleeting expletives.” But the Court relied not on the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantees but rather on the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause. The Court held that Fox and ABC were not given fair advance notice that their broadcasts, which occurred prior to the announcement of the new indecency policy, were covered. This retroactive application violated their due process rights. Broadcasters were hoping for a much broader First Amendment ruling that would have permanently hamstrung efforts by the agency to police indecency on the air. Instead, although a $1.4 million fine against ABC and its affiliates and a declaration by the FCC that Fox could be fined as well were both overturned, the agency remains free to create new indecency policies and case law under 18 USC 1464, which bans the broadcast of any" obscene, indecent, or profane language." In... Read more

Domain names on the Internet are about to get much more varied and creative. Soon websites will not just end in the few familiar suffixes like “com” or “edu,” but could end in things like “.movie” or ”.lawyer” or “.lol.” On Wednesday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization tasked with… Read More

The media world has changed radically since the last time that the Federal Trade Commission took a look at the marketing efforts of the nation’s major alcoholic beverage producers. So the FTC is taking a fresh look, emphasizing the recent explosive growth of social media in its continuing effort to determine whether the industry is… Read More

On May 30, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop at its conference center in Washington, D.C., entitled “Advertising and Privacy Disclosures in the Digital World.” This workshop was intended both to provide guidance to the public concerning the FTC’s advertising requirements and to solicit input from the public for updates to the FTC’s… Read More

A good bit of fanfare surrounded the Obama Administration’s release of its Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in late February. The publication reflects the Administration’s efforts to improve online consumer privacy protections while not stifling the growth of the Internet industries. The document is entitled, “Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for… Read More

Pomegranate juice maker POM Wonderful has declared victory against the FTC . . . in spite of an administrative law judge’s ruling that upholds many claims in the agency’s complaint. But the California company has good reason to celebrate: certain FTC standards, the ones that POM cried foul on, were rejected by the court. The… Read More

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May 22, 2012

Should FTC Protect Gamers Against Unhappy Endings?

By: Steven Eichorn

Whether you or not you are an avid gamer, you have probably realized that a significant segment of the general population takes gaming quite seriously. Probably a little too seriously sometimes. It seems that the ending to the popular game Mass Effect 3 (“ME3”), which is produced by BioWare, disappointed many devoted players so much… Read More

The world is full of surprises, like the fact that Nutella chocolate spread is loaded with saturated fat and sugar and is not itself healthy. Ferrero USA, Inc., the company that makes Nutella, learned the hard way that many American parents could not survive (nor perhaps could their children) without the aid and intervention of… Read More

SOPA and PIPA, as legislative efforts to deal with online piracy and other infringing activity, have gone the way of the Edsel. But their next of kin, a new bill known as CISPA, has made it through the House, passing 248 to 168. It too seems unlikely to become law, as the White House has… Read More

The Federal Trade Commission has obtained an order from the federal court for the Central District of California for a preliminary injunction and asset freeze against all the defendants in an alleged mortgage modification scam. The complaint was filed against California-based Sameer Lakhany and a number of related corporate entities for violating the Federal Trade… Read More

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