Posts tagged ‘Laws’

New FTC Guidelines for Bloggers, Others

December 1st, 2009

Today — December 1 —  new Federal Trade Commission guidelines for endorsements and testimonials went into effect — guidelines that apply to bloggers and others who endorse products and get paid for it, ie through affiliate links.  The guidelines are broad but it’s basically all about disclosure and being honest. While officially you should seek your own counsel, here is a link that lists a variety of reactions and opinions to the guidelines. Our opinion — and it’s just an non-legal opinion of course — is that if you practice disclosure and you’re honest about why you are recommending a product, you won’t be a target.  See our Disclosure Statement in our “About” Page.

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The Internet: A Rabbit Hole for Those Who Try to Control It

May 13th, 2009

As you may have heard, Craigslist is closing down its Erotic Services section, after a continuous attack by politicians and cops.  Ultimately, though, as many have noted, modern-day bureaucrats cannot control the internet or the oldest profession:

As PC World reports: “The notion that Craigslist and [its] officers should be held responsible for third-party content on their site because they didn’t do enough to satisfy the individual whims of respective state attorneys general is wholly inconsistent with the law,” says (Electronic Frontier Foundation) senior staff attorney Matt Zimmerman.”

The internet is, increasingly, a rabbit hole for those who want to control content, which is to say, the internet has already beat them.

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Internet “Pirate Bay” Founders Sentenced to Jail (Update)

April 20th, 2009

The founders of Pirate Bay, a file-swapping site are headed for jail, in what could be the beginning of increased prosecutions: “Lawyers believe that the sentencing of Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström to a year in jail for breaching Swedish copyright law could lead to a flurry of similar lawsuits as Hollywood and  the music industry battles to regain the upper hand in the war against file sharing.” These prosecutions are going after those who provide the channel for others who are swapping copyrighted material.

UPDATE: The lawyer for the defendants is demanding a retrial after it was revealed the judge in the case belongs to Swedish “copyright groups.”

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“The Internet Kill Switch”

April 13th, 2009

We don’t mean to get too political here, but this is a topic you should be familiar with, because an argument can be made that you might not be successful with an internet business if the internet was, say, turned off. That’s what could happen if a bill, currently in the early stage of development ever becomes law — it would give the President of the United States a “kill switch.” As Mark Gibbs discusses in Computerworld, such a “switch” (after declaring a “cybersecurity emergency”)  might be difficult to implement, but the idea  itself is chilling. Or as Gibbs says, even insane. As we reported on below, several countries have already been chipping away at access to the internet. It might not be easy for them; the web has a way of flowing through obstacles; but that doesn’t mean governments won’t always try, for one reason or another. You can read the proposed legislation, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 here.

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South Korea Goes After Blogger; And in Iran, Blogger Dead

April 13th, 2009

It’s getting to be a dangerous world out there for bloggers. A South Korean blogger who was arrested in January faces up to 18-months in jail. A verdict is expected April 20th. The blogger — known as “Minerva” — has been a fierce critic of that country’s economic policies. He became famous after several of his predictions came true, including the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Full story here.

In Iran, where blogging has become a major outlet of opinion and dissent, a blogger has died in prison, after being jailed for violating what the regime had called crimes against Islamic law.

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“FCC Studies Goal of National Affordable, Fast Internet”

April 8th, 2009
As USA Today reports: “The Federal Communications Commission Wednesday begins work on a national broadband plan, with the goal of ensuring that all consumers have access to services that are fast and affordable.” Story here.
This is essential infrastructure for any nation today. A good comparison is the United States’ interstate highway system, which was authorized in 1956. Imagine us today without interstate highways or freeways, trying to cross the country on an endless number of unorganized and independent roads. Do you know the #1-ranked country with broadband penetration ? Bermuda. The U.S. is #19, Japan #22. Check it out in this  amazing video. MySpace has 200 million registered users — if it was a country, it would be the 5th largest in the world (between Indonesia and Brazil).

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Bloggers, Others Could Be Sued Under New Regulations

April 3rd, 2009

The Financial Times is reporting:

Revised guidelines on endorsements and testimonials by the Federal Trade Commission, now under review and expected to be adopted, would hold companies liable for untruthful statements made by bloggers and users of social networking sites who receive samples of their products.”

“If a blogger received a free sample of skin lotion and then incorrectly claimed the product cured eczema, the FTC could sue the company for making false or unsubstantiated statements. The blogger could be sued for making false representations.”

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Important Reminder: Prohibited Adword Campaigns

March 10th, 2009

We know of a guy who found a product he absolutely KNEW would be a big seller, and all he had to do was use Adwords, he just KNEW it. He acquired the product, wrote a business plan, set up his company, and – then – he found out it was against Google’s policy to advertise the product.  Important to keep this in mind. Check out Google’s Content Policy.  Among the prohibited items: academic aids (i.e., test-taking services), aids to pass drug tests, fireworks, miracle cures, tobacco and cigarettes, traffic devices (i.e., radar jammers), and weapons. Some items have restrictions, such as prescription  drugs, alcohol, and gambling (prohibited outside of Great Britian, Italy, France, and Spain.)
Are there ways around it? Sure, SEO for one (see this post). You could also try some other search engines or content advertising services that cater to specific categories, i.e. adult. But you’ll likely find many of the same prohibitions.  As you can see,  most of the restrictions have to do with existing laws and regulations, and you would have problems promoting such an item anywhere. Bottomline, plan your campaign all the way through before you dive in prematurely.

(Original content by www.richdogmillionaire.com)

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Internet Gambling Ban May Be Repealed

March 7th, 2009

There’s a move underway to repeal the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which banned online gambling in the United States three years ago. Congressman Barney Frank is leading the effort in Congress. “Advocates of lifting the ban say it is (an) impingement of personal liberty and estimate the United States could raise nearly $52 billion in revenue over the next decade by taxing and regulating Internet gambling instead.” Even the Attorney General of Utah, a state that is certainly not a friend of casinos or gambling, has called the ban a failure. The ban has failed like Prohibition failed. You still have online gambling but now it’s unregulated and untaxed. Additionally, the ban has hurt trade relations with the European Union.
The ban was attached to the SAFE Port Act of 2006 at the last moment and was passed at midnight on the day Congress adjourned for the elections.

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