Archives: August 2017

Sweepstakes Rules: How Much Is Too Much?

William J. Shakespeare recognized over more than 400 years ago in As You Like It that, “Excess may do you harm.”  This may still hold true today for sweepstakes and contest Official Rules.

The internet has allowed Official Rules to be as long as a lawyer’s imagination.  But don’t shoot yourself in the foot when you try to bulletproof your rules.   Boilerplate language, “take it or leave” contracts and heavy-handed, one-sided provisions could be unconscionable and unenforceable.  According to the New York Court of Appeals, “unconscionability … requires some showing of ‘an absence of meaningful choice on the part of one of the parties together with contract terms which are unreasonably favorable to the other party.’” State v. Avco Fin. Servs. of N.Y., 50 N.Y.2d 383 (1980).  Sounds like Official Rules.

Context is important. (more…)

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You Can’t Do That (Strange But True Illegal Contests)

We all know that promotions involving such things as dairy, gasoline, and cigarettes are illegal in some states, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll learn that a red flag should go off if, for instance, a sponsor wants to run a dance marathon/kissing contest next Valentine’s Day.  Below is a list of (mostly) useless, but I hope, amusing state laws restricting certain contests.

California:  No frog-jumping contests.  Calif. Fish & Game Code, §6883.  Actually, frog-jumping contests are o.k., as long as Kermit isn’t eaten if he dies during the competition.  (I’m serious.)  To be safe, I’d recommend the conservative approach and simply avoid this contest in California, because you just never know. (more…)

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