The Association of Magazine Media

Consumer Protection

MPA is active on consumer protection issues on both the Federal and State level. The main areas of interest on the Federal level revolve around consumer privacy, especially with regard to online activities and with respect to children. Over a number of years, Congress has held hearings and proposed legislation with regard to general online privacy, data security – especially online, so-called spyware, and behavioral tracking of online activities. These topics have also been the subject of numerous state legislative proposals. Following enactment of the Can Spam act at the end of 2003, the Federal Trade Commission has been active in finalizing rules implementing the Act, which governs email marketing practices. In addition to state activities with regard to privacy issues, each year brings several state proposals on marketing practices that affect magazines, especially trial offers, automatic renewal, and disclosure of subscription expiration dates.

Following enforcement actions taken by attorneys general in five states last year, and more than five years after MPA first brought the issue of rogue agents to the attention of the FTC, MPA is pleased with the FTC’s announcement on May 3 that it is taking legal action against a group of rogue...
On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law important privacy legislation fought for by MPA for almost two years. The legislation amends and clarifies Michigan’s Video Rental Privacy Protection Act (VRPA), a law passed in 1988 that covers the sharing of consumer purchase...
Given the Federal Trade Commission’s interest in areas pertinent to the magazine media industry such as privacy, data and advertising, MPA keeps a close eye on FTC activities in those areas.

Today, Chairman Tom Wheeler of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) circulated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would apply privacy requirements under the Communications Act to internet service providers (ISP). The full FCC Commission will debate and vote on the draft proposal...

Issue Summary:

Recent and continuing high profile data breaches have reignited Congressional interest in data breach legislation in the 114th Congress. Both consumers and companies operating in the digital space have called on Congress to enact a federal standard that best...

MPA- the Association of Magazine Media and its member companies, applaud the legal action taken by the Attorneys General of New York, Oregon, Minnesota, Texas and Missouri to combat the abusive practices of fraudulent subscription renewal agents.
Despite being the home state of the magazine industry, the New York legislature continues to consider bills focused on magazine media, much as they did in 2013, and once again, MPA is out front in opposing them.
On May 27th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report detailing the findings of its year and a half long investigation of the data broker industry. The report, “Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability” follows similar reports previously released by the Senate Committee...
In early May, the White House released a pair of reports centered on “big data” issues. The first report, “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values,” focused on how big data can provide key benefits to the government and the public, but also a measure of risk for consumers. A...
Following the high profile announcements of the breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus, a chorus of Congressional voices called for Congress to look into the breaches, and the topic of data security more broadly. Hearings in the Senate and House in early February will give legislators that chance...
“Big Data” is a popular topic in Washington, and the announcement of two high profile data breaches have the light shining even brighter on data use, and the issue of data security, in particular...
Not even a month into 2014, legislators in several states are already holding hearings on bills that would impose burdensome regulations on negative option offers...
Federal and State Laws on Sweepstakes and Contests
The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing or "CAN-SPAM" Act
Advance Consent Subscription Plans
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continues to be active on consumer protection matters in 2013, issuing two reports early in the year focused on providing consumers with privacy and other disclosures in the digital space. Both reports Mobile Privacy Disclosures and .COM Disclosures deal with...
Following a flurry of early session activity, state legislators continue to be interested in regulating automatic renewals and free trials. In addition to bills dealing with automatic renewals, a bill has been introduced in New York specifically targeting magazine subscriptions and requiring that...
The list is intended to serve as a general reference guide to some of the legal and regulatory issues affecting the magazine industry. It should not be used as, and it is not intended to be, a substitute for legal advice. Members are strongly advised to consult with their own counsel regarding...
Not even a month into 2013, legislators in several states, (including Connecticut, New York and Maryland) introduced bills attempting to regulate automatic renewals and negative option offers...
Continuing a process started in August of 2012, the Department of Commerce, under the auspices of the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) continues to hold “stakeholder meetings” in an effort to create a voluntary code of conduct for mobile app transparency...
As part of their ongoing effort on privacy, a trio of privacy-related developments emerged from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as 2012 drew to a close...
Two and a half years after initiating a review of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), in late December the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its long-awaited final amendments to the rule...
In October, after nearly two years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the revised “Green Guides.” The Green Guides help industries avoid potential enforcement actions for deceptive environmental claims by offering clarification and guidance for marketers when making environmental...
In August, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requested comments on a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) for COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Expanding on modifications proposed in the original (September 2011) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the supplemental...
Despite already having a law regulating free trials, in mid-February Connecticut Senate President Donald Williams made legislation expanding the current law a Senate Democrat caucus priority.
The Department of Commerce is not the only entity paying close attention to EU activities with respect to privacy protection. MPA and other affected industries are engaged in a careful review of the proposed European Commission regulation, introduced January 25.
While privacy legislation has been a back burner issue in Congress so far this year, the Obama Administration has significantly ramped up its level of activity in the privacy arena. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the National Telecommunications Information Administration in the Department of...
While three data security bills passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, an attempt to move a data security bill in the Commerce Committee faltered this fall, as Sen. Rockefeller was unable to resolve differences between Democrats and Republicans on his Committee. In the House, following...
At the end of December, MPA, in conjunction with other affected industries and organizations, filed comments on the FTC’s “proposed rule” to amend COPPA issued on Sept 15th. The broad industry comments noted the significant cumulative effect of the changes and the potential for negative impacts on...
Following comments by MPA and others in July 2011, highlighting the First Amendment failings of the food marketing “voluntary principles” issued earlier in 2011 by the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children, in October the Federal Trade Commission – one of the four agencies in the...
Legislation aimed at fighting online piracy and counterfeiting on “rogue” websites continues to advance, creating a global outpouring of opinion, and pitting two powerful industries against each other.
Created by a 2009 act of Congress, in April, the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children, comprised of the FTC, CDC, FDA, and USDA, released their “preliminary proposed nutrition principles to guide self-regulatory efforts.”
A multiyear legislative effort came to a successful conclusion in August when the President signed legislation amending the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).
Following the spring announcements of several high profile data security breaches, renewed political interest in data security legislation has reached a fevered pitch...
After considering bills regulating free trials and automatic renewals in the last two legislative sessions, this year both Oregon and Hawaii passed legislation related to these advance consent marketing techniques commonly used by magazine publishers.
Citing billions of dollars in lost revenue for American businesses, and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, in the final months of 2010, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), along with Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) introduced legislation aimed at fighting online privacy and...
An automatic renewals bill in Hawaii has progressed the furthest this year, passing the House and one committee in the Senate. It is now pending before another Senate committee.
Following major reports on privacy by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Commerce – and hundreds of comments submitted to the agencies by interested parties, including MPA – the Senate and House Commerce committees are holding hearings and preparing legislation that could have...
On December 1st, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its much anticipated privacy report, titled “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change.”
Shortly after the FTC released its report on privacy, the Department of Commerce (DOC) followed suit, releasing a Green Paper entitled: “Privacy and Information Innovation: A Dynamic Privacy Framework for the Internet Age.”
Following an unusual legislative path to approval, in December President Obama signed S. 3386, the “Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act” into law.
After more than a year in the making, in December, a divided Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve network neutrality rules by a vote of 3-2.
On July 30th, 2011, New York Assembly Bill A. 2642, which extends subscription expiration date notice requirements currently imposed on magazine publishers to subscription sales by agents and changes the requirements for how expiration dates must be disclosed on subscription renewal materials will...

Several legislative proposals with regard to privacy have been offered in Congress and in state legislatures. MPA closely monitors these legislative proposals...

With the explosion of the Internet, many marketers are using e-mail as an economical and effective way to contact current and prospective customers with information about products and services that may be of interest to them.  Unfortunately, unscrupulous marketers have discovered that e-mail is...

MPA carefully monitors legislative proposals at the state level that could have a negative impact on publishers’ ability to market to current and potential magazine subscribers In evaluating proposals on marketing practices, including trial offers and automatic renewals, MPA seeks an appropriate...

MPA supports the concept of data security legislation, so long as it is narrowly focused, preempts state law to provide a national standard, and includes provisions for publishers’ business needs...

Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising for prescription drugs has been providing important information to patients about disease symptoms and treatment options since the early 1980’s. In recent years, expenditures on prescription drugs have been rising faster than the rate of inflation. Along with...