Gross McGinley currently represents clients that include one of the nation’s largest magazine and book publishers, a major direct-mail retailer, a producer of nationally and internationally syndicated television programs, a national cable advertising company, a major outdoor advertising company, a local general circulation newspaper, and a major music and arts festival. Through our work with these clients, we frequently are involved with issues related to advertising, including email and web-based advertising, regulatory compliance issues, and defamation, copyright, and trademark issues. Our Media and Internet Law practice group provides these clients with the best service in this area of the law.
If you create or help create websites that collect personally identifiable information or that advertise goods or services, you must be familiar with, and in many instances comply with, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards; California’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and California Civil Code Sec.1798.81.5; the Child Online Protection Act of 1998; the Federal Trade Commission’s online advertising rules; and other federal and state laws. If you have prepared or send commercial email, you must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003; the Utah Kids Protection Registry Act; Michigan’s Child Protection Email Registry Law; and other state and federal statutes and regulations.
If you or your clients are engaged in contests or sweepstakes, you should be aware that there is substantial federal and state regulation regarding those activities, and that failure to comply can cause you to incur substantial penalties. We have extensive experience creating sweepstakes’ rules, bonding where necessary, and managing the sweepstakes and contest processes to avoid adverse regulatory activity and make the project a successful one for you or your clients.
Frequently, we see advertisements which use the trademarked names or copyrighted materials of third parties. It often appears that these uses of trademarked and copyrighted materials infringe on the rights of the trademark or copyright owner. While it is possible to use third-party trademarks or copyrighted material in advertising, it is not automatically appropriate. Importantly, the misuse of third-party trademarks or copyrights can result in a claim for substantial “statutory damages”. We often have advised clients on these issues, and are ready to assist you or your clients in complying with the U.S. Trademark Act and the U.S. Copyright Act.
In addition, the two ancient legal doctrines of defamation and false light have recently shown new and dangerous life in lawsuits brought for materials published traditionally and on websites or otherwise over the Internet. We have substantial experience in this field and have been successful in defending numerous media, individual, and corporate defendants before local, state, and federal courts.