The High-touch Legal Services® Blog…for Startups!

© 2009-2019 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

FTC Says Gag Clauses Violate Federal Law

Seal of the Federal Trade Commission, which filed a Complaint about gag clausesLast year, I wrote about a California law that prohibits non-disparagement clauses in consumer contracts. (See Consumer Non-disparagement Clauses Nixed in California.) Recently, the Federal Trade Commission took the position that such “gag clauses violate federal law, as well.

Roca Labs’ Obesity Treatment

Roca Labs, Inc. claims that it has an alternative to bariatric surgery as a treatment for obesity. Roca says that its “proprietary regimen decreases hunger motivation, decreases urge to eat, and reduces gastric capacity by 45% to 65%.” (more…)

FTC Endorsement Guides FAQ Updated

Seal of the Federal Trade Commission, this post being about the FAQ for the FTC Endorsement GuidesSeveral years ago, I wrote about the FTC Endorsement Guides. (These are known more formally as the Federal Trade Commission Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This post discusses a recent update to the FAQ for the FTC Endorsement Guides.

Scope of the FTC Enforcement Guides

The following excerpts from the Introduction to the FAQ provide a succinct overview of the scope of the FTC Endorsement Guides. (more…)

Mobile Apps: Respecting Users’ Rights

Federal Trade Commission seal

From time to time, developers inquire about best practices in marketing their mobile apps and protecting users’ privacy. Last month the Federal Trade Commission expressed its opinion on these issues (Marketing Your Mobile App: Get It Right from the Start).

On the marketing side, the FTC has two guidelines:

  • Tell the truth about what your app can do.
  • Disclose key information clearly and conspicuously (make sure that users actually notice your disclosures and are able to understand them).

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Paid Online Endorsements – It Appears that Amazon.com Cares, Too

logo for Amazon.com, which may have removed book reviews because they were paid online endorsements

About a year ago, in “Educate Employees about Online Endorsements – the FTC is Watching!” I discussed the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. It appears that at least one online site – Amazon.com – may be taking the FTC’s guidelines about paid online endorsements pretty seriously.

A prospective client called me recently. She was upset because many of the book reviews she had written on Amazon.com – which were paid for by authors – had been removed on at least two occasions. (more…)

Educate Employees about Online Endorsements – the FTC is Watching!

A few months ago, I posted Does your Employee Handbook address social media? This post discusses a specific social-media issue that is of great importance to every employer: Online endorsements of products or services by employees.

The Federal Trade Commission has published Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Actions that are inconsistent with the Guides may result in an FTC enforcement action.

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Commercial E-mail and CAN-SPAM: What You Need to Know

Seal of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, which publishes a CAN-SPAM guide for businessesUnsolicited commercial electronic mail – “spam” – is the bane of the modern electronic existence. In an effort to limit this problem, the One hundred Eighth Congress enacted the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003. This legislation, usually referred to as the “CAN-SPAM Act of 2003” or “CAN-SPAM”, took effect January 1, 2004.

The CAN-SPAM Act

CAN-SPAM has four main provisions, which together aim to make commercial email (including commercial content on websites) more truthful, more transparent and more avoidable.

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Mass E-mails and Urban Legends: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

A well-intentioned friend recently distributed – to many dozens of people – an e-mail claiming that next month all mobile phone numbers will be released to telemarketers, so it is essential to call the Federal Trade Commission’s toll-free number to opt out of receiving unwanted calls. The e-mail finished by telling recipients to forward it to all of their friends.

This e-mail is false and perpetuates an urban legend that has been circulating for years, wasting bandwidth, processing cycles and disk space!

The truth is that mobile phones are protected from telemarketing; the toll-free opt-out number should be used for landline phones.

For more details, check out Snopes.com and the FTC website.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.