May 13, 2010


White House Task Force Issues Obesity Recommendations 

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity recently released its report to the President, "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation."  The report included 70 recommendations broadly grouped into 5 areas including, early childhood, empowering parents and caregivers, healthier food in schools, access to healthy, affordable food and increasing physical activity.  Some of the recommendations in the empowering parents and caregivers section deal with advertising and marketing.

The task force report acknowledges industry's self-regulatory Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, but believes that more must be done.  The report recognizes that any initiatives undertaken by the federal government, "must carefully consider freedom of speech interests." With that disclaimer the report lists the following specific recommendations:

  • The food and beverage industry should extend its self-regulatory program to cover all forms of marketing to children, and food retailers should avoid in-store marketing that promotes unhealthy products to children.
  • All media and entertainment companies should limit the licensing of their popular characters to food and beverage products that are healthy and consistent with science-based nutrition standards.
  • The food and beverage industry and the media and entertainment industry should jointly adopt meaningful, uniform nutrition standards for marketing food and beverages to children, as well as a uniform standard for what constitutes marketing to children.
  • Industry should provide technology to help consumers distinguish between advertisements for healthy and unhealthy foods and to limit their children's exposure to unhealthy food advertisements.
  • If voluntary efforts to limit the marketing of less healthy foods and beverages to children do not yield substantial results, the FCC could consider revisiting and modernizing rules on commercial time during children's programming.

The report would count success as a "A substantial yearly increase in the proportion of healthy food and beverage advertisements targeting children" and "a substantial yearly decrease in the use of licensed characters to promote foods and beverages that are not healthy."
A copy of the full task force report can be found here.

Advertising and Services Tax Discussed in Kansas

Legislative observers in Kansas report that a proposal to remove the tax exemption on advertising and other services was briefly discussed in the State Senate before being withdrawn. Like most states, Kansas is facing budget difficulties and looking for ways to maximize revenue. AAF sent an alert to its Kansas members urging them to contact lawmakers to ask them to oppose any effort to tax advertising.

Republicans Urge President to Dismiss Reclassification

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Whip Eric Cantor R-Va. have written a letter to President Obama asking him to stop the Federal Communication Commission from reclassifying portions of broadband services as telecommunications services, arguing that such an action would negatively affect economic recovery.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed reclassifying the Internet as a telecommunications service rather than an information services, thereby giving the Commission greater authority to impose regulations.

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing LimeWire Found Liable

A U.S. District Judge has issued a summary judgment finding LimeWire liable for copyright infringement, based on the peer-to-peer file sharing services it provides. The judge wrote, "The evidence establishes that LimeWire users have infringed plaintiff's copyrights..." and "demonstrates that LimeWire users employed LimeWire to share and download the recordings without authorization."

The Recording Industry Association of America applauded the decision stating the "ruling is an extraordinary victory for the entire creative community" and "an important milestone in the creative community's fight to reclaim the Internet as a platform for legitimate commerce."

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The AAF protects and promotes advertising at all levels of government through grassroots activities. Our nation-wide network monitors advertising-related legislation on local, state and federal levels. We put our members face-to-face with influential lawmakers while encouraging self-regulation as a preemptor to government intervention, when appropriate of course. To learn more about our advocacy efforts, click here.