January 14, 2009

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

AAF President & CEO Discusses Advertising Tax Deductibility in Interview

In an interview published in the January 12, 2009, issue of Advertising Age, AAF President & CEO James Edmund Datri warned that any change to the tax deductibility of advertising will have an adverse effect on the economy. Datri told Rance Crain, editor-in-chief, Advertising Age, that new debts created by stimulus packages and other spending will eventually require repayment and that in looking for new revenue, Congress may look to advertising and the business community to foot the bill. He further stated that the role of advertising in the economy isn't "nearly as understood as it should be," stressing that congressional tax-writing committees need to better understand the power of advertising on improving the economy. "Advertising is really going to be a big part of the solution, a major engine to get us out of the mess we're in," said Datri. The complete article is available here.
Back to Top

Obama, Others Call for Digital Television Transition Delay

Following Consumers Union and other consumer groups, President-elect Barack Obama has called for delaying the completion of broadcast television's analog-to-digital transition. The rollover, scheduled to be completed on February 17, is mandated by a law passed in 2005. There are now growing concerns over a waiting list of people who have not yet received vouchers for digital-to-analog converter boxes, as well as a lack of general funds for digital TV education. The sponsor of the original bill, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, warned that any delay in the switch would be a "monumental error in judgment." His letter was co-signed by 14 additional House Republicans and was sent this week to President-elect Obama. Nevertheless, both House Energy and Commerce Committee Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., are drafting bills that would move the cutoff date back, perhaps until the end of May.
Back to Top

AAF Calls for Generic Top-Level Domain Name Expansion Delay

The AAF has joined in a coalition of corporations and associations asking the International Corporations for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to delay the launch of a new program to increase the number of generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD). Top-Level Domains are the portion of the Internet address to the right of the dot (.com, .org, .gov, etc.) and are currently limited to a relative few. The ICANN proposal would allow individuals, corporations or groups to purchase new gTLDs that could include virtually any word or phrase, including company or brand names. In the letter, we raise several specific concerns about the current proposal, including protecting consumers across the new gTLDs; protecting companies and brand-owners across the new gTLDs; and the effect of the new gTLD program on ICANN and the Internet. Our comments can be viewed here.
Back to Top

Consumer Groups File Mobile Marketing Complaint

Two consumer groups, the Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission seeking new federal safeguards for mobile phone users. The groups argue that mobile phone companies are "pushing the envelope" in tracking Web-surfing habits of their customers in order to target advertisements to them and have asked the FTC to consider imposing new restrictions. At a May 2008 FTC workshop on mobile marketing, the Center for Digital Democracy stated that the possibility that companies may misuse consumer information justifies the FTC to take action, despite no evidence of such misuse. At the same forum, mobile companies flatly denied any improper use of personal data. FTC Commissioner Jonathan Liebowitz has previously said that he is concerned about increased mobile phone marketing but had no current plans to change policies on mobile marketing. President-elect Barack Obama's appointment of new FTC commissioners may change those priorities, however.
Back to Top

AAF Government Report is available to all members of the AAF. If you are interested in receiving an e-mailed copy, please e-mail government@aaf.org.

If you are interested in receiving AAF SmartBrief, an opt-in news service, please visit www.smartbrief.com/aaf. AAF SmartBrief condenses advertising industry news from dozens of media sources into a succinct, easy to read e-mail.

Go to the Government Affairs Main Page.