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Heenan Blaikie Gives A Dose Of MAdLaw, Insights Into The Challenges Of Anti-Spam, Copyright & Privacy

Heenan BlaikieYesterday morning, law firm Heenan Blaikie held their MAdLaw seminar which focused on the latest legal developments in areas including anti-spam, privacy, copyright and advertising to kids.  Here are some of the key points from the session:

User-generated & viral content

  • Upside: leverages consumer social networks
  • Downside: less control over the message

Viral Content: Risk Mitigation

  • Full compliance with all intellectual property laws is tough in user-generated contexts
  • Strict requirements will frustrate marketing objectives
  • Consumers will get frustrated with promotion and brand
  • They will voice that frustration too!
  • Developing strategies to head-offanticipated issues is key.

Viral Content: Risk Mitigation

  • Risk management often depends on consumer “investment” in the content
  • Examples of low investment
  • Take a photo of you and the product
  • Write the last line of a commercial
  • Examples of high investment
  • Shoot a video advertising our product
  • Any action involving time and skill

Basics of Copyright

  • There is no copyright in an idea,butonlyinthe expression of the idea.
  • Protection of original expression.
  • Protection for a limited time(life of author+50 years).

Case Study: Danone

  • Claimed Activia yogurt and DanActive probiotic drinks could prevent colds and relieve digestive issues
  • US Federal Trade Commission alleged the claims were exaggerated or not adequately supported
  • US settlement: $21 million
  • Canadian settlement: $1.7 million

Case Study: Reebok

  • Claimed that use of EasyTone shoes and apparel would result in toning and strengthening benefits
  • Plaintiffs alleged claims were false and misleading
  • US settlement: $25 million
  • Canadian settlement: $2.2 million

Case Study: The Brick

  • Quebec consumer rights group launched class action against The Brick
  • Alleged that The Brick’s “Do not pay for 15 months” ad claim was false, because the program required a $35 annual membership fee
  • The Brick agreed to pay $2 million settlement

Anti-spam, copyright, privacy and other legal issues related to advertising continues to be a growing concern for consumers, the Privacy Officer of Canada who has even challenged the world’s largest social network Facebook on their practices.  Fortunately companies such as eyeReturn are taking a proactive approach to ensure their advertising solution provide a balance between protecting consumers and advertisers can accurately target users.