New York Passes Magazine Subscription Label Bill
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 go into effect.
A multi- year lobbying effort by MPA produced significant positive changes in the bill. In addition to removing proposed font size requirements on the mailing label, a safe harbor was added for renewals violating the proposed law in error, as well as exemptions for gift and nonprofit subscriptions. The new bill adds the words “understandable and readable,” to current law, specifying that the subscription expiration date be “disclosed in a clear, conspicuous, understandable, and readable manner.” If a renewal solicitation is packaged with an issue of the magazine, the solicitation does not need to contain the renewal date. However, the new law requires that the consumer be told where to find the expiration date on the magazine label.
Another expiration date bill, this one in New Jersey, is carrying over into 2011. The New Jersey bill would require publishers to include the subscription expiration date with the month in a “non-numerical and non-abbreviated format” on both the subscription mailing label and on renewal solicitations. The bill had been introduced in previous years without moving, but in 2010, the bill passed the Assembly, and could be acted on by the Senate in 2011. The bill includes some changes requested by MPA, including exemptions for gift and nonprofit subscriptions. MPA continues to lobby against requiring expiration dates in non-numerical and non-abbreviated format.