Internet Advertising Bureau calls FTC guidelines unconstitutional

Here’s an interesting take on the new FTC guidelines from the Internet Advertising Bureau:

IAB CEO  “Randall Rothenberg specifically takes issue with a portion of the new guides for endorsements and testimonials recommending that bloggers should disclose the receipt of free review copies. The FTC’s guides do not say that traditional media publications should make similar disclosures.”

You can read more about this at MediaPost Publications here.

The whole freedom of speech argument (which isn’t new) seems a tad silly to me – although perhaps constitutional lawyers would have a different take and I would imagine the argument “that’s silly” wouldn’t hold up very well in a court of law.

A more thoughtful summary of First Amendment Issues can be found at CitiMediaLaw here.

“Both Dan Gillmor and Jeff Jarvis convincingly argue that the new FTC guidelines misunderstand the conversational character of online speech.  It may prove very difficult to determine which of these conversations are noncommercial expressive speech and which are simply buzz marketing. ”

First of all, it sounds to me that Dan Gillmor and Jeff Jarvis don’t understand a few things about online marketing. And the “prove it” remark kind of reminds me of a recent film about serial killer Ted Bundy who says to his girlfriend “Don’t worry…They’ll never be able to prove I did it”.

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