Any business (and affiliates and marketers) that engages in interstate commerce will be at the mercy of federal laws. Interstate marketing and advertising practices are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) underneath the FTC Act. Services and goods offered through the Internet are thought to become a “use in commerce” because the services are available to a national or global audience. The FTC regulates Internet advertising, marketing activities and sales to consumers because of the watchdog agency. The same consumer protection laws that affect commercial activities in other media affect the Internet. Under Section 5 of the FTC Act, illegal advertising practices are categorized as either an unfair method of competition or an unfair or deceptive act or practice.
Any activity that will probably cause consumer confusion regarding source, sponsorship or affiliation of a bit of good or service is essentially an “unfair” act or practice underneath the FTC Act. However, the actual culprit for interstate businesses, affiliates and other Internet marketers is avoiding advertising claims which are unfair or deceptive. There is no hard definition of what practices are thought “unfair” or “deceptive,” underneath the FTC Act.
But, in the simplest terms, all advertisements:
- must be truthful and not misleading;
- must have evidence to back up any claims manufactured in the ad; and
- can’t be unfair.
Complying with FTC laws really boils right down to a single standard that your advertisements or marketing practices will be judged under. This “standard” is known as’materially misleading.’ This is basically the crux of website advertising law and the typical through which all Internet claims and representations are measured to find out whether they’re deceptive. Either an ad or claim is materially misleading, or it isn’t deceptive. This standard is defined by some guidelines, rules and policy statements published by the FTC. The FTC rules and guidelines illustrate what the FTC believes is illegal underneath the technical language of the FTC Act.
The principle guidelines on advertising are contained in the FTC’s Policy Statement on Deception. Under the FTC’s Statement, an advertising or marketing practice is deceptive if there is a representation, omission of information or various other practice that will probably mislead a reasonable consumer and which will probably influence or else “affect the consumer’s conduct or decision pertaining to a product or service,” to that particular customer’s detriment.
With regards to Internet advertising, an unfair or deceptive act or trade practice is usually produced by publishing a false advertisement. The Act specifically states that utilizing a false advertisement in commerce is unlawful and this is also categorized as being an unfair or deceptive act or practices. The definition of false advertisement means advertising, 통장임대 other than labeling, which is misleading in a material respect. As imaginable, flat out lies about your products or services, or the ones that you promote or endorse, will be misleading and illegal. Simply stated, you can’t make any false claims. However, a state can be misleading in many alternative methods and this really is where most Internet businesses land into trouble.
If you don’t understand the type of what is considered materially misleading, you can very easily violate FTC laws. You MUST understand most of the ways a state may mislead a client and you MUST know what is considered a state or representation in the initial place. This is really the important thing to understanding FTC laws. For example, a state can be literally true, but if it is only true in limited circumstances, or if it is at the mercy of more than one interpretation, certainly one of which is not true, or misleading in its overall effect, it’s deceptive. I’m planning to take you through each section of an advertising from the FTC’s standpoint in order to master this understanding. Again, either you can pay an attorney to consider your specific ads, throw them up blind, or make an effort to understand the fundamentals yourself.
Overall Context Matters
A claim can be suggested by the overall context of an advertisement. This implies a representation or claim can be made or suggested by any “statement, word, design, device, sound, or any combination thereof “.In other words, the FTC won’t just go through the words of an advertising on it’s own to find out if it is misleading. Apart from what of the ad, the name of the item, the type of the item, any visual or audio depictions or symbolism can all give you the context to begin a claim. Even the website name or metatags can offer the context for a claim. The entire experience conveyed by viewing the ad in relation to the remaining website sets the context for a certain claim.
The U.S. District Court, Third Circuit stated the FTC standard regarding context of an ad clearly. “The tendency of the advertising to deceive must be judged by viewing it in general, without emphasizing isolated words or phrases apart from their context.” Beneficial Corp. v. FTC (1976). Using illustrative pictures on your website to demonstrate the effectiveness or outcomes of a product is a common example. Without stating some direct, express claim in words, these pictures will be just as effective in suggesting some claim to your visitors.
EXAMPLE: You operate a web site called homesavers.com which provides loan modification and “foreclosure rescue” services. The title of your webpage is called “save home” and your house page includes a picture of a “happy and relieved” couple sitting at a home table looking at their laptop which shows homesavers.com on the screen. The internet site advertisements incorporate a heading titled “Begin the method of saving your house now” and other claims of “if you act now, we can keep your home.” Without the qualifying disclosures, the overall context of the website may imply that consumers can expect to save lots of their homes by using homesavers.com.