At this week’s New Media Expo / BusinessNext (formerly BlogWorld) conference in Las Vegas, I spoke on a panel called “Social Media and the Law: Emerging Legal Issues and Obligations.” My portion of the talk was dedicated to consumer protection issues. For those who couldn’t be there, here’s a summary of what I discussed.
The Federal Lanham Act & related laws govern commercial speech, and are designed to protect consumers from being deceived or misled. Causes of action under these statutes include False/Deceptive Advertising, Unfair Competition, and Trademark Infringement.
One primary way that consumers can be deceived is through endorsements. “Endorsement” is defined as any advertising message that consumers are likely to believe reflects the opinions or experience of someone other than the advertiser. This definition creates two types of speakers: endorsers and advertisers.