Useless But Compelling Facts – July 2009

Now this month, those of you who follow golf may have been disappointed by Tom Watson’s second-place finish at the British Open. But some of you traditionalists may know that his loss actually preserved a 142-year-old record set by someone else at the British Open. In fact, the very same gentleman actually holds two records—both of which have withstood the test of more than a century of challenges. Can you identify both of the records held and who holds them?

Remember, please send your answers directly to me at joseph.rosenbaum@rimonlaw.com. Good luck.

Useless But Compelling Facts – June 2009 Answer

Last month we tried to stimulate your thinking about the origins of the privacy provisions of Gramm-Leach-Bliley—an afterthought to the original purposes of the Act. Congratulations to Matthew Krigbaum, Assistant General Counsel of Transamerica Capital Management, a long-time fan and loyal Legal Bytes follower, for getting the right answer, first. Originally, GLBA did not contain privacy provisions (Title V), but during a “mark up” session in the Commerce Committee, Rep. Markey (D-Col.) introduced an amendment adding these privacy protections. While it originally looked as if the amendment might not get anywhere, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) unexpectedly announced his support and . . well, you know the rest. It appears that Rep. Barton became concerned about his own privacy when Victoria’s Secret catalogs began to show up at his Washington, D.C., residence, raising his suspicion that his credit union had shared his address with Victoria’s Secret.

Online Gaming Laws Survey – Free (Yes, You Read Correctly)

With the help of one of our trusty Summer Associates, and stimulated in part by our desire to update and consolidate research we have done over the years in a variety of different contexts, we have prepared a Survey of U.S. Federal and State Gaming Laws & Regulations that apply or may apply to “Online Gaming.” We defined “gaming” relatively loosely, and tried to cover promotions and contests involving money or consideration of any kind, the potential implications of related gambling statutes, “amusement gaming,” and anything related that popped onto our radar screen. With the proliferation of Internet-web-based online advertising, promotions, games and interactive entertainment, these gaming laws will increasingly be implicated and potentially used by state and federal authorities to regulate how these activities are conducted.

Now you may ask, “Why would a law firm be giving away such valuable research for free online, on the web, for everyone to see?” Well you may ask – but first read on:

This is an area in which Rimon has both U.S. and international experience, and as complex gaming, promotional activities and in-game advertising—involving proprietary and user-generated content—proliferate, the convergence and intersection of these laws and regulations with advertising, promotional and marketing regulation will surely increase over time. Contact Joseph I. Rosenbaum if you would like to know more about our experience, our resources, or our ability to help you.

We also maintain a similar chart and database relating to Gift Cards and Gift Certificates, covering both traditional and online payment instruments that are increasingly blurred with prepaid debit cards, stored value cards, smart or chip-cards, reward cards, discount certificates, and traditional credit, charge and debit cards. In the online world, often a simple code or account number, rather than a physical piece of plastic, is the only evidence that a “gift card” exists. Not only are there advertising disclosure regulations and restrictions on expiration dates or the imposition of dormancy or inactivity fees, but escheat and abandoned property laws are implicated as well. It’s a complex area of marketing and the law. In addition, in collaboration with our Security & Data Protection Group, we maintain a database of data breach, information security and identity theft statutes, which is an increasingly handy tool related to prevention and compliance and, of course, knowing what to do when you suffer a breach.

The Survey of U.S. Federal and State Gaming Laws & Regulations chart, which you can refer to at any time, lists each state (including the District of Columbia) in the United States, and a citation to the relevant statutes and regulations (organized so that amendments are cross-referenced by date and relevant citation), followed by a brief summary of the salient provisions of the law or regulation itself. We have also noted, where there was current activity, any pending legislation that may apply. For example, the relevance of federal gambling legislation appears in the notes at the introduction of the chart, referencing the recent introduction of bills that would potentially defer enforcement of the UIEGA and seek to establish a federal licensing scheme for online gambling. We will continue to update our research regularly for our clients, and if you want to know more about any of the databases, reference tools, or our teams of professionals who can help you—well you know what to do next. Oh, and if you want to know why we are giving this research to you at no charge—well I did say “you may ask.” So go ahead and ask.

Free CLE? Free To Travel? Start Packing!

“Advertising Law in the United States and Europe: The Challenges Ahead” is the subject of a CLE Conference organized and sponsored by the University of Limerick Law School and the Franklin Pierce Law School that is being held July 24 and 25 in Limerick, Ireland (Limerick is 20 minutes from Shannon). Douglas J. Wood and Joseph I. Rosenbaum, Co-Chairs of Rimon’s global Advertising Technology & Media Law Group, are among the distinguished faculty, which includes some of our clients, as well as scholars and government leaders from both sides of the Atlantic.

What’s more, these institutions have graciously agreed to allow us to invite our clients to attend at no charge. Yes, you read correctly. Free! Now you must be a client to take advantage of this promotional offer, and although you will have to pay your own way to join us and stay for the two-day course, what better time and excuse to visit Ireland? Yes, it’s short notice, but airfares are favorable, and if you are in Europe you literally have no excuse not to get away and take advantage of this great opportunity. Just click to learn more about the Agenda, the Faculty, the University of Limerick Law School, where the conference will be held; or nearby accommodations. Being a client does have its privileges, so if you are interested, email either Doug Wood or Joe Rosenbaum as soon as possible to take advantage of this opportunity. And start making your travel arrangements now!

Stimulus Package Includes Broadband Opportunities

This post was written by Amy Mushahwar and Judith Harris.

On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (otherwise known as the Stimulus Package) with two broadband deployment grant funding opportunities. As a follow-up to this statute, the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce recently released a Notice that will apply to awarding the first $4 billion of the total $7.2 billion in federal Stimulus Package broadband funds.

Broadband providers are already devising applications to serve rural, unserved and underserved geographic areas. But, did you know that other opportunities in the Notice could be of interest to you? For example, the Notice provides funding to conduct education campaigns in order to stimulate broadband uptake, and local broadband providers may need to partner with regional educators or advertisers to assist with these grass roots education campaigns. Or, broadband deployment applicants receive preferences for linking “community institutions” (which would include schools, universities and hospitals, to name a few) to their proposed broadband networks. The community institution preference would provide unique opportunities for those companies facilitating telemedicine or distance learning to partner with local telecommunications providers.

A link to a nuts-and-bolts Alert regarding the basic components of the NOFA and helpful deadlines is provided below. The Obama administration seems determined to move things along expeditiously. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis from July 14 until Aug. 14, 2009, so you would have to work quickly on this, if you have any interest in riding this particular train.

You can view Rimon’s full Alert by clicking the link below:

Broadband Stimulus Notice Released with Application Details

If you need to know, you need to contact Amy Mushahwar, Judith Harris or your favorite Rimon attorney—who will be more than happy to help you.

Advertising Industry Collaboration Releases Self-Regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising Principles

A group of the nation’s largest media and marketing trade associations today released self-regulatory principles to protect consumer privacy in ad-supported interactive media that will require advertisers and websites to clearly inform consumers about data collection practices, and enable them to exercise control over that information.

In an extraordinary show of industry cooperation and collaboration, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau last week released a series of self-regulatory principles, intended to be implemented by 2010 and designed to protect consumer privacy in advertising-supported interactive media. As part of the announcement, the Council of Better Business Bureaus along with the DMA, has agreed to implement accountability programs relative to these principles.

These self-regulatory guidelines come on the heels of a recently released study commissioned by the IAB entitled “Economic Value of the Advertising-Supported Internet Ecosystem,” which reported that the advertising-supported Internet represents 2.1 percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), contributing $300 billion to the economy, and has created 3.1 million U.S. jobs.

“Guided by the seven Principles we have announced today, the advertising community is developing one of the most comprehensive self-regulatory programs ever undertaken by the business community. The fast-changing online marketing environment is best addressed by a self-regulatory framework that is transparent, flexible and accountable to consumers’ needs and concerns. On behalf of our 360 members, who collectively invest more than $200 billion annually in marketing communications, we look forward to jointly developing a comprehensive business system that respects and honors these Principles,” said Bob Liodice, President and CEO, (ANA).

“This historic collaboration represents businesses and trade associations working together to advance the public interest,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “Although consumers have registered few if any complaints about Internet privacy, surveys show they are concerned about their privacy. We are acting early and aggressively on their concerns, to reinforce their trust in this vital medium that contributes so significantly to the U.S. economy.”

The seven Principles designed to address consumer concerns about use of personal information without wreaking havoc to advertising that subsidizes and supports the vast array of free online content relate to:

  • Education
  • Transparency
  • Consumer Control
  • Data Security
  • Material Changes
  • Sensitive Data
  • Accountability

We will be highlighting each of these principles separately in Legal Bytes over the weeks ahead, but if you would like to read the “Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising” report now, in its entirety, just follow the link.

Larry Ellison, CEO, Oracle

“The privacy you’re concerned about is largely an illusion. All you have to give up is your illusions, not any of your privacy.“

Did You Miss Our Seminar: “Facebook Personalized URLs: Titanic Brand Opportunity or Tip of an Iceberg?”

As we reported previously, Facebook announced the availability of a personalized Facebook URLs, raising serious issues — yet another example of technology colliding with traditional intellectual property laws. In this case, laws intended to protect trademarks and brand names. If you followed the news, the promotional momentum created by Facebook’s offer has made every astute brand owner ponder the implications! While you, of course, should look at my previous Legal Bytes post on Personalized URLs, if you missed the informative one-hour seminar on the subject presented by Douglas J. Wood and myself, Co-Chairs of the Rimon Advertising Technology & Media Law Group, you can find it here: “Facebook Personalized URLs: Titanic Brand Opportunity or Tip of an Iceberg?

Useless But Compelling Facts – June 2009

Legal Bytes has traditionally focused on convergence—notably, the convergence of advertising, media and entertainment, health care, financial services, and social interaction, with technology. In each case, technology is changing the way we interact with each other and the world around us, and our job is to pick out the legal implications and enlighten you or stimulate your thinking, or—we hope—both. 

This month we would like to stimulate your thinking with an interesting legal question related to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLBA”) and a “secret” not many know. Most consumers in the United States and abroad think of GLBA as a privacy protection statute—Title V of GLBA requires financial institutions to give individuals notice and the ability to control certain kinds of information-sharing. Did you know Title V might not have made it into GLBA were it not for Victoria’s Secret? So tell us what you know about the connection and we’ll reward you with a prize.

Remember—please DON’T send your answers to the Legal Bytes blog; send them directly to me at joseph.rosenbaum@rimonlaw.com. Good luck.

Useless But Compelling Facts – May 2009 Answer

Last month we asked a follow-up question about Charles Darwin. Specifically, what did he and Abraham Lincoln have in common. While there were plenty of “common” themes—both were considered radical or revolutionary, both had mothers who died relatively young and within a year of each other, and both considered slavery immoral—the one single indisputable thing they shared, despite being born on two different continents, was the same birthday—Feb. 12, 1809. The first person with the right answer was our avid reader and long-time fan, Matthew Krigbaum, Assistant General Counsel at Transamerica Capital Management. Thanks Matt; a prize is on the way!