Archives: August 2016

Please Don’t Endorse Our Product Anymore: The Morals Clause Edition

Unless you’ve Rip Van Winkled for the past month, lost your television/iPhone/iPad, or simply given up on international competitive athletics to instead focus on the Cubbies’ chase for an elusive World Series Crown, you know that US Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte’s “over exaggeration” will cost him over $1 million in endorsement deals. While his contracts with these brands are secret, we can suppose that he’s out because a morals clause was in his contracts.    

A “morals clause” is standard in any endorsement contract. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has said: “Morals clauses have long been held valid and enforceable.” Nader v. ABC Television, Inc., 150 F. App’x 54, 56 (2d Cir. 2005). The seminal case that triggered morals clauses in the entertain industry was that of Roscoe Arbuckle (better known by the improper body-shaming sobriquet “Fatty”), who in 1921 after inking a 3-year/3-million contract with Paramount was arrested on rape and murder charges. While his contract did not have a morals clause, Universal Pictures soon made sure that their talent contracts did. Soon after, moral clauses were often used – and upheld – in the 1950s by Hollywood studios to fire suspected communists. More recently, the issue of moral clauses was raised with Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen and boxer Manny Pacquiao who lost his lucrative deal with Nike. Nike had also previously broken ties with athletes Lance Armstrong, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Oscar Pistorius for their morally-challenging conduct. (more…)

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Pinterest Revises Promotion Guidelines

Recently and without fanfare, Pinterest revised its Promotion Guidelines in a few significant ways.

The old Guidelines said you cannot “run a sweepstakes where each Pin, board, like, or follow represents an entry;” you cannot require people “to Pin from a selection;” and you cannot “require a minimum number of Pins.”

These restrictions are gone.  The new Guidelines now expressly prohibit three things:

  1. Requiring entrants to post a specific image. Pinterest says: “Give Pinners the ability to choose Pins based on their tastes and preferences, even if it’s from a selection or a given website.”
  2. Allowing more than 1 entry per person. Pinterest says that multiple entries are “less authentic and can negatively impact other Pinners.”
  3. Suggesting that Pinterest sponsors or endorses the promotion.

Requiring a pin to enter, pinning from a selection, and having a minimum number of pins to enter are now all apparently permissible.

Yay Pinterest! Let the kids play.

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In Honor of the Olympics We Give You the International Sweepstakes Edition

In a twist that would make Alanis Morrisette sing, “Isn’t It Ironic”, last week the New York Times reported that a survivor of an Emirates airline crash landing in Dubai learned days later that he had won $1,000,000 in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Sweepstakes. http://nyti.ms/2bhMxkK

For this Sweepstakes, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, each passenger that goes through Dubai International Airport can purchase a $278 ticket with a chance to win a $1 million prize. The odds are an incredible 5,000 to 1. (For a state of reference, the odds of winning $1 million in the McDonald’s Money Monopoly Game are roughly 1 in 513,591,720.)

Dubai Duty Free’s “pay to play” sweepstakes seems as foreign to Americans as the Olympic events found only on an Internet feed. Perhaps you didn’t know that goggles are optional in synchronized swimming or that Greco-Roman wrestling forbids holds below the waist or even that it’s “badminton” and not “badmitton”. Whenever you “go global” you need to brush up on international rules, and this is no less important when running a sweepstakes. Therefore, I give you some unusual sweepstakes quirks throughout the world: (more…)

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