February 27, 2008

Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President – Government Affairs
Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – State Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Manager – Government Affairs

Consumer Products Safety Commission Bill Includes Onerous Advertising Requirements

A Senate bill designed to modernize the Consumer Products Safety Commission includes warning statement requirements that are especially problematic for advertising. S. 2045 calls for any advertisement for a toy, game, balloon, small ball or marble that requires a cautionary statement on packaging to include the statement in or immediately adjacent to the ad. The AAF believes that this bill would place undue burdens on advertising by mandating warning language. The House version (H.R. 4040), which passed in December, would require the entire cautionary statement in any ad that provides a direct means to purchase the toy-such as Internet or catalog advertising. The Senate could consider the bill as early as next week. A copy of an alert the AAF sent to members is available here.
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FTC Plans Green Guides Workshop

The Federal Trade Commission has announced it will hold a second public workshop on April 30 as the agency continues its review of the "Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims," or Green Guides. The workshop will focus on new green packaging claims such as "sustainable" and "renewable" and the consumer perception of such claims. Additionally, the FTC said it will examine third-party certification programs that verify environmental impact. The guides were last revised in 1998. The American Advertising Federation joined with the AAAA and the ANA to submit comments to the FTC urging them to proceed cautiously before making any revision to the guides. A copy of the letter is available here.
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FCC Chairman Martin Warns Internet Companies Over Net Neutrality

At a Federal Communications Commission hearing on network neutrality, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said that his agency may punish Internet service providers who deliberately slow download speeds. Martin said that he is considering refining neutrality rules as well as levying fines if companies choose to slow the delivery of Web content. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who testified at the hearing, introduced a bill (H.R. 5353) earlier this month that would direct the FCC to investigate whether Internet service providers restrict the speed at which users access certain content online.
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Nielsen Study Finds Many Americans Unprepared for Digital TV Transition

A new study released by Nielsen found that 13 million households have television sets equipped only for analog broadcasts and are currently unprepared for the digital television transition. An additional six million households have at least one television that will not work once the analog-to-digital transition is completed on February 19, 2009. These numbers amount to 10 percent of households with only analog broadcast capabilities and 17 percent of households with at least one television currently incapable of receiving digital broadcasts. In order to continue to receive television signals, consumers must purchase a new digital TV, purchase a converter box or subscribe to a cable or satellite subscription service.
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