MPA – The Association of Magazine Media Statement on Video Rental Privacy Protection Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May, 4, 2016) – 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 information for magazines, books, sound recordings, and video recordings. Since 2012, trial lawyers have exploited the large statutory damages provision in the 1988 law and have filed 11 class action lawsuits against magazine publishers, many of which remain pending. The new law, while allowing consumers to recover actual damages in the event of a violation, removes the statutory damages provision that has served to incentivize trial lawyers to pursue these lawsuits.
On behalf of the entire magazine media industry, MPA has worked in Michigan for almost two years to amend and clarify the original intent of the VRPA. In addition to removing the statutory damages provision, we are pleased that the action taken by the Michigan Legislature and Governor Snyder clarifies that information may be disclosed in the ordinary course of business, including marketing goods and services—uses of customer information that were never intended to be prohibited under the VRPA—as long as consumers are provided the opportunity to opt-out of the sharing of their information for marketing purposes.
The curative amendments contained in the law signed yesterday will protect consumers’ information while allowing legitimate businesses—including magazine publishers—to conduct ordinary business operations and market their products or services to consumers. The law also preserves the ability of individuals who have suffered actual harm from a violation of the law to recover actual damages and attorney fees.
MPA appreciates the efforts of the bill sponsor, Senator Tanya Schuitmaker, and the leaders of the Michigan House and Senate, as well as Governor Snyder. This legislation is beneficial for magazine media and our audience, allowing publishers to continue to connect consumers to the print and digital products they trust and value most.