Sam Levenson

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.”

The Federalist Papers

Published in 1788, the Federalist Papers was a series of 85 essays defending the U.S. Constitution. Their authorship was simply credited as “Publius.” Only later was it revealed these essays were actually written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. How many did each of them write?

The 56% Typing Solution

When it comes to typing with only the left or the right hand, the “lefties” win the length contest.  Using your left hand on a standard English keyboard typewriter, you can type out the words ‘stewardesses’ and ‘reverberated’ but using your right hand, the longest words you can type in English are ‘lollipop’ and ‘monopoly’.   Then again, since Christopher Latham Sholes invented the modern typewriter, there has always been a left-handed bias. In 1954, “The Wonderful Writing Machine” by Bruce Bliven claimed that the key arrangement actually gives your left hand about 56% of the key strokes.  Since then language has changed so if anyone knows of more up-to-date study, enlighten us trivia types!

Eleanor Roosevelt

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”

What’s Your Type: Left or Right?

What are the longest words in the English language that can be typed using only the left hand and the longest words that can be typed using only the right hand?

FTC Warns Celebrities Over Social Media Endorsements

Two weeks after presenting Keys to Celebrity & Paid Endorsements in Social Media at the ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting, the Federal Trade Commission has sent out over 90 letters to celebrities, athletes, marketing firms and other influencers, warning them to clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media (see, FTC Staff Reminds Influencers and Brands to Clearly Disclose Relationship).   An advocacy group, Public Citizen, which petitioned the FTC to act, said Instagram had become “a Wild West of disguised advertising” and in connection with its own investigation last year, named celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, among over 100 influencers who the group claimed made endorsements without proper disclosures.

The potential for misleading consumers was raised after a review of Instagram posts reviewed by the FTC, recognizing that if consumers knew that a celebrity was being paid, gained a benefit or was somehow associated with the product, service or brand, it may well affect their perception and the weight accorded any claims made through such endorsements.  As mentioned in the presentation to lawyers at the ABA meeting, the FTC Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising applies to individual endorsers, as well as to bloggers, marketing companies and sponsoring advertisers.   The letters sent out by the FTC noted that if a post includes “more” to indicate there is additional content available, the disclosure must be before or above that reference and that some disclosures weren’t clear even when made conspicuously. For example, “#sp” referring to ‘sponsored’ or “Thanks (name of product/service/brand)” or similar oblique references, especially when placed in a string of other symbols, abbreviations, links, hashtags (#), emoticons and emojis are not likely to be conspicuous or easily understood by many consumers.

Although the FTC did not publicly disclose the names of the recipients of the letters or the actual letters themselves, this is the first time the FTC has directly targeted social media influencers themselves, highlighting the requirements set out in the Guides that any “material connection” (e.g., paid sponsorship, contractual obligation, gifts, ownership interest, etc.) must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed unless the context already makes the connection clear.

Understanding the nuances of national and international advertising, marketing, promotions and sponsorships can be daunting.  Implementing practical policies and practices to avoid problems before they arise, while meeting your marketing objectives, building brand recognition and strengthening your intellectual property assets is never simple or easy.   The FTC’s jurisdiction includes everything from multicultural marketing, promotional campaigns involving user-generated content, sweepstakes and contests, as well as the privacy and data mining implications of marketing and promotional activities.  Whether you are reviewing your current slate of endorsements, native advertising, product placement or branded entertainment, trying to enhance customer loyalty, affinity, co-branded marketing or reward programs, or if you are simply looking at new and innovative ways to use technology, including mobile and social media, to advertise, promote and market your brand, your products or your services – you need to understand the law and regulation that surround these activities.

As always, if you need or want to know more about the information or subject of these Legal Bytes, always feel free to contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, at Rimon Law!


Mary Had a Great Swing

The term “caddie” originated with Mary, Queen of Scots. As a young girl, Mary went to France for school (and survival). Louis, the King of France, found out that she loved the Scottish game “golf,” so he had the first golf course outside of Scotland built for her to use. Of course, Mary required a proper chaperone while she played, so King Louis hired young cadets from a nearby military school. As you can imagine, As you might guess, Mary enjoyed the company of these young ‘cadets’ a great deal and when she returned to Scotland, she continued the practice. In French, the word cadet is pronounced ‘ca-day’ and the Scots changed it into “caddie.”

Steve Jobs

“Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

Spring is a Time for Renewal

One of the oldest calendars known to recorded history, the Solar Hijri is the answer to our timely question this past Monday. Nowruz (sometimes spelled Noruz).The calendar’s new year’s day always falls on the vernal (March) equinox.