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Category Archives: Advertising Issues

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The Super Bowl is Over – Let’s Talk About the Olympics and Trademarks

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations, Trademark
Last month, we posted some updated guidelines about engaging in or accepting advertising or promotions that directly or indirectly allude to the Super Bowl without a license from the NFL.  “As Super Bowl Approaches, Advertisers Should Be Aware of The NFL’s Efforts to Protect Its Golden Goose – 2018 Update”  Now, that is behind us… Continue Reading

FCC Reaches Consent Decree with Noncommercial Broadcaster Imposing Largest Fine Ever Issued for Underwriting Violations – $115,000

Posted in Advertising Issues, FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Noncommercial broadcast stations are licensed to be just that – noncommercial. These stations can run “underwriting announcements” acknowledging commercial businesses that provide financial support to the stations, but such announcements must meet strict guidelines – including restrictions on “calls to action,” prohibitions on statements about prices or discounts, and requirements that no qualitative claim about… Continue Reading

As Super Bowl Approaches, Advertisers Should Be Aware of The NFL’s Efforts to Protect Its Golden Goose – 2018 Update on Super Bowl Advertising and Promotions

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Trademark
For many years, we have posted guidelines about engaging in or accepting advertising or promotions that directly or indirectly allude to the Super Bowl without a license from the NFL. We are at that time of year again, so here is an updated version of our prior posts. The Super Bowl means big bucks. It is… Continue Reading

Attorney General Sessions Memo Frees Federal Prosecutors to Pursue Marijuana Cases – What Does It Mean for Broadcast Advertisements?

Posted in Advertising Issues, License Renewal, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a one-page memo (here) advising Federal prosecutors to use their discretion in pursuing marijuana prosecutions – even in states where state law has made marijuana legal for either medical or recreational use.  Even though some states have removed state law restrictions on the sale or use of marijuana, marijuana… Continue Reading

Political Broadcasting and Programmatic Buying – Issues to Consider

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
The week before last, Bobby Baker, the head of the FCC’s Office of Political Programming and the acknowledged guru on political broadcasting issues, and I conducted a webinar for 20 state broadcast associations discussing the FCC rules regarding political advertising and related issues. We have done this seminar every other year for quite some time… Continue Reading

FCC Political Broadcasting Rules for Write-In Candidates

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
In these last few weeks before the many municipal elections that will be occurring in November in states across the country, I have recently received several questions about a broadcaster’s legal obligations toward write-in candidates who want to run advertising on a radio or television station. Under FCC precedent, all legally qualified candidates (including those… Continue Reading

Update: New Advertising Disclaimers on E-Cig and Cigar Advertising Still on for 2018

Posted in Advertising Issues
Last year, the FDA adopted requirements to tag advertisements for vaping and e-cig advertising with a warning that e-cigs contain nicotine and that nicotine is an addictive chemical. These requirements were to go into effect in 2018. In the last week, I have received several questions about these rules and their effective date. According to… Continue Reading

Remember FCC Rules on Underwriting Limitations – And that They Don’t Apply to Spots Bought By Nonprofit Entities

Posted in Advertising Issues, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Last week, the FCC reached a consent decree with a noncommercial broadcaster, where the broadcaster paid an $8000 penalty for, among other things, running underwriting spots that were too promotional. While the consent decree and its implementing order provide no details on the underwriting violations by the broadcaster, we can assume that the broadcaster ran… Continue Reading

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Reg Fees, Nationwide EAS Test, Must-Carry Letters, Lowest Unit Rate, Translator and Repack Deadlines and GMR License Extension

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Political Broadcasting, Television
Summer is coming to an end, but the legal obligations never take a vacation, and September brings another list of regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. While the month is one of those without the usual list of EEO Public File obligations or quarterly FCC filing obligations, there still are a number of other regulatory deadlines for… Continue Reading

Complaints Filed Against TV Stations for Public File Violations on Political Issue Ads

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting, Television
Earlier this week, the Campaign Legal Center and Issue One, two political “watchdog” organizations, filed FCC complaints against two Georgia TV stations, alleging violations of the rules that govern the documents that need to be placed into a station’s public inspection file regarding political “issue advertising” (see their press release here, with links to the… Continue Reading

Looking at Music Royalty Issues for Radio and TV Broadcasters

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Last week, I participated in a discussion about music royalties for broadcasters at the Texas Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention in Austin. Speaking on the panel with me were the heads of the Radio Music License Committee and the TV Music Licensing Committee. These are the organizations that represent most commercial broadcasters in their negotiations… Continue Reading

Reminder – FCC Political Rules Apply to Off-Year Elections for Vacant Congressional Seats, and for State and Local Offices

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
In odd years like 2017, most broadcasting stations don’t think about the FCC’s political broadcasting rules. But they should – both for special elections to fill open seats in Congress, and for state and local political offices.  Recently, I have received a number of calls about elections to fill seats in Congress that were vacated by… Continue Reading

It’s March Madness! … It’s April Madness! … Be Wary of Using the NCAA’s Trademarks

Posted in Advertising Issues, Trademark
Less than a week ago, the National Collegiate Athletic Association filed a trademark infringement action in federal court against a company that runs online sports-themed promotions and contests under the marks “April Madness” and “Final 3.”  The NCAA is seeking injunctive relief, damages, the defendant’s profits, punitive damages and an award of attorneys’ fees. Last year,… Continue Reading

As Super Bowl Approaches, Advertisers Should Be Aware of The NFL’s Efforts to Protect Its Golden Goose – 2017 Update

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Trademark
Last year, we posted some guidelines about engaging in or accepting advertising or promotions that directly or indirectly alludes to the Super Bowl without a license from the NFL. We are at that time of year again, so here is an updated version of our prior post. In addition to the monies it receives annually… Continue Reading

FCC Clarifies Public File Obligations for Identifying Issues and Sponsors for Political Ads – Admonishes Numerous TV Stations for Violations

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting, Television
Late Friday, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued an order (at this time available in Word format only, here) clarifying its public file rules for political ads – both ads from candidates and from third-party groups.  The FCC’s clarifications require broadcasters who run candidate or issue advertising to include information about not only the candidates mentioned… Continue Reading

Advertise Like Santa Is Watching – 6 Holiday Advertising/Marketing Tips to Help You Stay Off The Naughty List

Posted in Advertising Issues, Children's Programming and Advertising, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations, Trademark, Website Issues
It’s the holiday season, and many of us are turning our thoughts to celebrating with friends and family. It is also high season for shopping, which means the airwaves, social media, websites and print pages are full of opportunities to buy, sell, and advertise. Whether you consider that to be a feature or a bug,… Continue Reading

Legal Issues in Digital and Social Media – Identifying the Landmines for Broadcasters and Other Media Companies – A Video Webinar

Posted in Advertising Issues, Appearances, Children's Programming and Advertising, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Privacy, Trademark, Website Issues
Almost every week, we write about some legal issue that arises in digital and social media – many times talking about the traditional media company that did something that they shouldn’t have done in the online world, and ended up with some legal issues as a result. Two weeks ago, I conducted a webinar, hosted… Continue Reading

Accepting Advertising for Marijuana or Marijuana Paraphernalia:  The Trademark Office Rules on a Related Issue that Provides More Reason For Caution

Posted in Advertising Issues, Trademark
As David Oxenford has previously commented, even in states where marijuana has been legalized, broadcasters should be cautious about accepting advertising for marijuana or related paraphilia.  Specifically, decisions by the FDA and the Department of Justice have done little to cut through the smoke shrouding the issue.  Now, perhaps the last United States agency that… Continue Reading

Reminder: Free Webinar Next Week on Trademark Law – Protect Your Slogans and Brands

Posted in Advertising Issues, Appearances, Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations, Trademark
The protection of brands, slogans, positioning statements and program titles must be a high priority of any electronic media company. These assets establish the identity of any broadcaster, webcaster or other media company.  Media companies need to protect these assets through the rights accorded by trademark law.  We have been running a series of articles on… Continue Reading

Trademark Tuesday, Election Day Special – Trademark Tales from the Campaign Trail

Posted in Advertising Issues, Trademark
With Election Day finally upon us, we wait in anticipation (and with a fair amount of nail biting) as the fate of our country is decided. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some trademark fun, looking at how law and trademarks can collide. But first, a reminder — don’t forget to dial into… Continue Reading

What to do When a Local Political Candidate Appears in a Spot Advertisement for a Commercial Business

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
This has been an unusual political year, as the number of political broadcasting legal issues that have arisen seems far smaller than in past election cycles. Perhaps broadcasters are all on top of the issues this year, or maybe the questions that often arise in connection with attack ads simply pale in comparison to some… Continue Reading

What Could Possibly Go Wrong With a Broadcast Contest? – From the Legal Side

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Earlier this week, our friends at the broadcast and digital media consulting and research firm Jacobs Media posted an article on their blog called “What Could Possibly Go Wrong,” dealing with the financial and reputational issues that can arise if a contest is not fully thought out. That article reminded me of all of the… Continue Reading