December 2, 2011


AAF Files First Amendment Brief

AAF has joined the ANA in filing another amicus brief with the United States District Court supporting the First Amendment rights of commercial speech in RJR et al v. FDA. District Court Judge Richard Leon recently issued an injunction prohibiting the FDA from moving forward with a plan mandating that the top 20% of advertising and the top 50% of the front and back of cigarette packaging be taken up with a rotating series of graphic pictorial warnings. The judge said that the FDA was unlikely to prevail due to First Amendment and other concerns. The FDA has appealed the ruling.

Senate May Hold ICANN Hearing

The Senate Commerce Committee willconduct a December 8 hearing investigating the plan by the Internet Corporations for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to open for auction a virtually unlimited amount of new top level domains.  ICANN is expected to have a witness at the hearing.  AAF has a number of serious concerns about the plan including the likelihood of serious economic harm to copyright and brand owners as well as the potential for new opportunities for consumer fraud.  AAF and many of our local clubs and corporate members joined in a letter to the Secretary of Commerce asking him to persuade ICANN to postpone implementation of the auction until the serious concerns the proposal raised can be adequately addressed.  We are urging members of the Committee to attend the hearing and express their concerns directly to ICANN.

IWG Recommendations May Be Delayed Until 2012

The Senate Commerce Committee held a November 15 hearing on the reappointment of Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz and the nomination of Maureen Ohlhausen as a new Commissioner.

Under questioning from Senators, Chairman Leibowitz outlined a number of anticipated changes to the Interagency Working Group’s so-called voluntary nutrition guidelines for advertising to children. The Chairman said the guidelines would be limited to advertising to children 12 and under, not 17 and under as initially released. He also said that recommendations on charitable and sports activities would be eased.

The Committee has not yet closed the period for Senators to submit post-hearing questions to the nominees. Allowing time for responses would suggest that release of the final IWG guidelines is unlikely to be before 2012.

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