Digital Legal Advertising Compliance 101

With the advancing legal technology, there is more to compliance – from copyrights to complying with TCPA rules, the industry has evolved.  and so have the compliance regulations!  How you share content and images can have catastrophic legal consequences, especially if the deal is still green.

In recent years, the FTC and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau imposed fines ranging from $134 million to $758 million for 10,000+ complaints.  Protect your brand’s reputation from careless mistakes that can cost you millions of dollars. Make sure that you understand the legal rules of compliance in advertising before sharing content online.

That said, let’s have a quick overview of digital legal advertising compliance and everything you need to know about it:

An Overview of Legal Regulations on Data Privacy 

Data privacy and compliance have become part of our legal lives since the enforcement of legal regulations on data privacy, which was to take effect on the 25th of May 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was created to form the framework of digital legal advertising compliance.

In practice, the compliance in advertising your digital marketing master plan is dependent on two types of regulations:

  1. Legal regulations, which include the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
  2. Industry-sector-specific demands and regulations. 

Digital Legal Advertising Compliance – What Lawyers Need to Know 

  1. Copyright fair use

Considering how digital advertising is increasing, Copyright Fair Use should be a piece of cake for all advertisers. However, as more people share content online, providing the right ascription for your content can be overwhelming.

And because we understand how detrimental this could be to your content, consider:

Consulting the Fair Use Index: Basically, your content is good if it falls under Fair Use. If you are not sure about anything yet, ask the Fair Use Index for help.

Asking for Permission: While it is a no-brainer, some people will still go ahead and share others’ content without inquiring about it. Seeking permission costs you nothing; neither causes pain in your neck!

Using a Stock Photo Site: There are tons of sites that offer free images that are legal for your content. Thinkstock, for example, is one of the websites that provide you with free legal photos for your content because you have paid subscription fees.

Taking Advantage of Twitter Embeds: With the Twitter Embed tool, republishing another person’s photo on Twitter is acceptable. Dead simple, right?

  1. The CAN-SPAM Act 

There is more to CAN-SPAM Act than just eliminating spam emails. It stipulates strict rules for business emails that come in handy with hefty penalties of up to $16,000 upon violation of their laws.

Not only that, you need to follow the Opt-Out or Unsubscribe rules to a tee. TCPA, for example, has the right to unsubscribe from business emails. However, it is worth noting that your company should provide a visible opt-out button or link so you do not have to pay homage to opt-out requests.

  1. Full detail disclosure

Let’s face it. Most advertisers will not provide full disclosure details to consumers. It is obvious – literally, no business person can fully disclose his product, because all that matters at the moment is making more sales.

However, what they seem not to understand is that being upfront with your customers from the start can create an impact on their business.

Take a picture of this: You received an email offer for the latest smart TV. For just $200, you can the updated version, which sounds like a good deal, though. Sadly, the email fails to mention that the agreement is of a two-year contract. Even worse, the contract is going to charge an extra fee of $300 plus other expenses.

Good news! Advertisers who do not provide their consumers with full disclosure details are in for a severe penalty of $5 million. It is to ensure honesty in the marketing industry.

  1. Disclosure of risks

While most advertisers will only pose benefits of their promotional products, they fail to understand the importance of disclosing the potential risks too. Similarly, consumers are not so much concerned about the risks imposed by a product but rather the benefits.

Some years back, Duchesnay USA was involved in a conflict with the FDA after posting a deceitful post on Twitter and Instagram regarding a photo made by Kim Kardashian.

Kardashian sent a tweet of the DICLEGIS drug, which she claimed was an anti-nausea medication. That was not a problem, though, because anyone can share his opinion on social media.

She, however, didn’t disclose the risks of the drug, and as such, misleading the audience. As a spokesperson, it was her duty to disclose the dangers of the product, not to be deceitful.

Digital Legal Myths Lawyers Should Be Aware Of 

  1. “I simply need to comply with the ABA Model Rules for ethics.”

Since the invention of Canons in 1908, the American Bar Association has crafted sets of ethical rules, currently referred to as Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The Model Rules take effect on most law schools, and as such, upcoming lawyers are acquainted with these set of rules as the basis of their professional conduct.

  1. “I’ll be fine if I must comply with the lowest common denominator.”

Nearly all professionals advertise and offer their services in a specific manner. However, those who work in large companies and outsource their services to clients are sometimes assigned challenging tasks of compliance.

In addition to copyrights, this level of compliance includes tons of disclaimers and disclosures, information limits, legal technology, and more. Sometimes, handling some of these compliance becomes overwhelming for large firms.

That said, some states require ads to help them identify lawyers who will offer services based on the advertised product. In a multinational firm, for example, finding lawyers can be daunting unless the matter is attributed.

  1. “The vendors will take care of compliance.”

Thanks to technology, now we have an undivided assemble of third-party vendors constructing platforms for the development of clients.

This technology is flexible and offers more than just building platforms for client development. Crafting platforms that connect clients with lawyers is overpriced because they provide a diverse range of services – from simple to complex online directories depending on the level of support you need.

Bottom Line 

Today, most marketers are using advertising as a form of promoting their brands online. However, it is worth noting that these adverts are under two management: federal and state law.

Your ad is considered deceitful or misleading under the law if it tends to mislead consumers. It means that the government will only prove your deceptive quality in the administrative hearing. 

At this point, your intentions do not count, which means you’ll pay hefty penalties for deceiving the world even if you had the right plans.