What Marketers Need to Know About the New FTC Disclosures

social media viewpointsAre you confused about the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure rules and how they relate to your social media activities?

Do you want to know more about what you need to disclose and how to make disclosures on social media to comply with U.S. consumer laws?

In March of this year, the United States Federal Trade Commission released the first update to the .com Disclosures guide.

Here’s a look at the key points in this update relevant to social media marketers today.

cover of disclosure guide

Read the .com Disclosures guide for full details.

The Environment Has Changed

First, it’s important to understand the environment in which this guide was published.

With the first release in 2000, the .com Disclosures guide was an attempt to narrow the gray area of how marketing and advertising worked on the Internet so companies could maintain compliance with consumer protection laws.

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How Free Speech and Social Media Fit Together

social media viewpointsYou’ve heard it or have seen it posted…

Someone saying they can say whatever they want, post whatever they want and no-one can do anything to them.

As if the First Amendment is their sword and shield. And you can’t do anything about it.

Freedom of speech. Three words that get thrown around and written about so often that what the expression means is more about misinformation than truth.

And misinformation can be detrimental to online professionals as they try to separate the wheat from the chaff and understand a right so important to the foundation of the United States that the founding fathers made it the first amendment to the Constitution to better clarify what rights belong to its citizens.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Source: First Amendment, U.S. Constitution

This article will specifically focus on the portion relating to speech and how this applies to the online community.

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How to Craft a Privacy Policy for Your Website

social media how toDoes your website have a privacy policy?

This article will tell you what you need to know to create a privacy policy for your website.

Why a Privacy Policy?

As online professionals and entrepreneurs, you know that collecting information on visitors to your (or your client’s) website can help tailor goods and services. It offers insight that previously could only be gathered through expensive research. Today, though, data collection can be easy and inexpensive.

But with this type of information, businesses face a daunting task of protecting the data and telling visitors and/or consumers what will be done with the information. Regardless of whether site visitors read the terms and conditions, companies can’t overlook the creation of policies that set out how such information will be used.

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Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images

social media viewpointsYou’ve heard the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when that picture is protected by copyright, the picture is only worth three words: cease and desist.

OK, that’s kind of a lawyer joke. But it illustrates how protective people are about finding their images used online without permission.

Copyright laws were established not to give the author the right to deny their work to other people, but instead to encourage its creation.

Article I, Section 8, clause 8, of the United States Constitution states the purpose of copyright laws is “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

It’s a delicate balance between the rights of the creator and the public’s interest. When in conflict, the balance tips more heavily toward the public’s interest, which is often contrary to what the creator believes to be fair or just.

This article will cover exactly what copyright is and what it covers.

And then we’ll look at the concept of fair use as it pertains to using images online. The goal here is to better understand how to use images others create in a way that is both respectful of the author’s ownership rights and allows others to use it.

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Are You Disclosing? What You Need to Know about FTC Rules and Social Media

social media how toHave you wondered about U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure regulations? Wondering whether you’ve been compliant?

Keep reading for a detailed understanding of FTC rules and regulations on endorsements and testimonials in social media.

Some background…

Any time the US Government implements new regulations, there is discussion, debate, information and plenty of misinformation.

Nearly 2 years ago, in December 2009, the FTC revised, for the first time in 3 decades, its rules and regulations about endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

The prior rules were made long before the Internet and needed to be updated to account for this new type of media. Since implementing the new FTC Disclosure Guidelines PDF for endorsements and testimonials in advertising, bloggers have been given a multitude of interpretations, rules, best practices and how-to’s. Sadly, most of the information has been more scare tactics than useful.

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Social Media Promotions and the Law: What You Need to Know

social media viewpointsAre you thinking of using social media contests?

Do you understand how the law could impact your activities?

Keep reading to learn more…

Why Legalities?

One of the best ways to grow your business is to give stuff away.

Whether your business is a small enterprise, a website or blog, or a large multinational company, hosting giveaways is sure to increase traffic, awareness and potential new readers or customers.

Sponsoring or hosting a giveaway comes with rules and regulations that many don’t know or understand.

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