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Online Retailer and Executive Plead Guilty to Price-Fixing Conspiracy Conducted Via Social Media and Text Messaging

An online retailer and its president recently pled guilty to a price-fixing conspiracy for customized promotional products that was implemented through text messaging and social media platforms. The successful prosecutions are the latest in the Department of Justice’s ongoing antitrust investigation into the online promotional products industry.  

Instagram Signals to #Influencers That There’s a #NewSheriff in Town

TLDR Instagram has a message for social media Influencers: the Wild West is coming to an end. The popular photo-sharing platform is rolling out a new tool that will make it easier to tag and track paid commercial content. The tool offers a potential replacement for the much loathed “#ad” disclosure, but it also signals a coming crackdown on Influencer posts.

Anonymous Online Business Reviews: Balancing Free Speech Rights Against Protections From Defamation

As nearly every company’s products and services can be critiqued on several online platforms, courts must balance a speaker’s First Amendment right to express opinions anonymously online against a business’s right protect itself from defamatory speech. On one hand, anonymous online speech is typically thought to be protected by the First Amendment, and websites posting anonymous reviews often fiercely defend their reviewers’ anonymity and their speech as non-actionable opinion. Early this year, Congress even passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act, which stops a company from using a contrac

FTC Fires Warning Shot Over Misleading Instagram Posts

What’s New? The Federal Trade Commission recently sent more than 90 letters to celebrities, athletes, and other influencers reminding them that brand endorsements made in social media posts must comply with the FTC’s Endor

Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016: What Brands Need to Know About This New Consumer Review Law

What’s the News? Before leaving office, President Obama signed into law the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 (CRFA), which protects consumers engaging in consumer reviews. The CRFA voids a contract if it prohibits or restricts an individual from reviewing a seller's goods, services, or conduct. Who is Affected? All companies that have the prohibited clauses (see below) in their consumer contracts will have to review and update these contracts for compliance with the CRFA.

New Version of Payment Card Information Standards Targets Recent Breach Issues

What’s the News? Following recent updates, merchants and retailers will soon become subject to the updated Payment Card Information Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the security standard that organizations need to follow if they handle credit and debit cards from major card companies, such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express. This round of changes will be known as version 3.2 of PCI DSS, and include significant guidance and updates on hot topics such as encryption and strong credentials.

Retailers May Face False Advertising Suits Even If Consumers Learn the “Truth” Before Making a Purchase

Last week, a California appellate court held that consumers can proceed with a class action suit against Banana Republic for false advertising arising from posted signs that advertised a 40-percent off sale without disclosing that the discount only applied to certain items.  This decision will raise red flags for retailers because the customers had learned the truth about the discount’s limitations at the cash register before making their purchases.   

Ho-Ho-Ho! Retailers Beware When Advertising

Retailers should beware this holiday season – and beyond – when advertising sales using a comparison between the “original” and “sale” prices as Macy's, Sears, and JC Penney were j

What Global Fashion Companies Need to Know About the GDPR If They Collect EU Personal Data

What’s New? (The GDPR.) Fashion and luxury goods companies need to take heed of yet another data protection regulation. This one could substantially impact them if they collect, process, or transfer EU individuals’ personal data, or plan to do so at some point soon. Specifically, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the EU’s new data protection law, recently and finally entered into law. It replaces the old EU data protection regime established by the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC).

Triple Threat: Chinese Ad Company’s Malware Raises Ad Fraud, Cybersecurity, and Privacy Concerns

What’s New? Recent reports indicate that advertising fraud is not only increasing but is now being run by groups alongside otherwise legitimate advertising businesses.    Cybersecurity company Check Point recently released a report finding that HummingBad—a known malware that takes over Android devices, generates fraudulent advertising revenue, and installs apps on the infected phones—was developed and is controlled by a group of cybercriminals within Yingmob, an otherwise legitimate advertising analytics business based in Beijing.