October 6, 2009
FTC to begin regulating blogs
Not that this should impact the work of those bloggers in the Law Professor Blogs Network, but SiliconValley.com is reporting that
The Federal Trade Commission will try to regulate blogging for the first time, requiring writers on the Web to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.
The FTC said Monday its commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the final Web guidelines, which had been expected. Violating the rules, which take effect Dec. 1, could bring fines up to $11,000 per violation. Bloggers or advertisers also could face injunctions and be ordered to reimburse consumers for financial losses stemming from inappropriate product reviews.
The commission stopped short of specifying how bloggers must disclose conflicts of interest. Rich Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's advertising practices division, said the disclosure must be "clear and conspicuous," no matter what form it will take.
Bloggers have long praised or panned products and services online. But what some consumers might not know is that many companies pay reviewers for their write-ups or give them free products such as toys or computers or trips to Disneyland. In contrast, at traditional journalism outlets, products borrowed for reviews generally have to be returned.
Before the FTC gave notice in November it was going to regulate such endorsements, blogs varied in the level of disclosures about these potential conflicts of interest.
The FTC's proposal made many bloggers anxious. They said the scrutiny would make them nervous about posting.
You can read the original post here.
Hat tip to BNA Internet Law News.
October 6, 2009 | Permalink