Posts by: Robert Laplaca

You May Be A Loser (Does the Recent Publishers Clearing House Class Action Lawsuit Portend Changes in Sweepstakes Law?)

On April 23, 2018, 13 disgruntled senior citizens, led by a retired and disabled veteran who for seven years purchased hundreds of items from Publishers Clearing House (PCH) believing this would increase his chance of winning the PCH Sweepstakes, sued PCH in federal court in New York claiming PCH was guilty of a number of deceptive trade practices.

For years PCH has been the poster child for questionable sweepstakes and a lightning rod for investigations.  Everyone knows it’s “You May Already Be a Winner” slogan (at least we do here), and that at any moment they may creep up to your house, ring the doorbell like a hyperactive kid on Halloween, and pounce on you with a ginormous winner’s check.  And for years, consumers and regulators alike have been patrolling the PCH Prize Patrol, this time with a multi-million dollar lawsuit that reads like a primer on sweepstakes law. (more…)

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How Can They Do That? A Question Many Commercial Co-Venturers Love to Ask

Advertising lawyers when giving advice to clients on promotional programs and advertising disclosures are always asked by their clients, why must we do it that way when XYZ company isn’t?  The answer is usually somewhere between I don’t know why XYZ company is doing it that way and XYZ company is doing it wrong.  The task is even more difficult when dealing with commercial co-ventures, since the regulations seem to slip the mind of many a brand.

I recently came across an ad for the new Apple® iPhone 8 (PRODUCT) RED™ which lists on the Apple website for $799 for the 64gb version and $949 for the 256 gb version (for those of you who would like to film a remake of The Ten Commandments).  The Apple website states under a picture of the phone as follows:

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition are now available.  Every purchase contributes directly to the Global Fund to fight AIDS.”

When you scroll down to the bottom of the page, it says “A portion of the proceeds from every (PRODUCT)RED purchase will go the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa.” (more…)

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Poetry in Motion: High School Student/Immigrant Allowed to Participate in Contest Even When Excluded from Eligibility

On April 20, 2018, Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr. of the US District Court of Maine issued a well-reasoned 39 page decision granting an injunction against the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) from prohibiting a high school student from Zambia, seeking asylum in the US, from participating in a national poetry recital contest.  The decision in Monga v. National Endowment for the Arts, 2:18-cv-00156-JAW, USDC ME can be found online here.

First, kudos to Judge Woodcock.  He decided the case while the contest was still going on!  The case was filed April 11; briefing was completed April 17; argument was heard April 18 and a comprehensive decision was filed two days later, with just three days to spare before the national finals for the poetry recital contest.  (more…)

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How Will The General Data Protection Regulation Affect Your Sweepstakes Across the Pond

As was made pretty clear last week from the 1,400 hours of Congressional testimony by Mark Zuckerberg, the USA may want to follow the lead of the EU and adopt laws similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For now, if you are running a sweepstakes or contest open to EU residents, here are some things you need to know about the GDPR.

What is the GDPR? The GDPR is a comprehensive regulation concerning the collection and use of online personal data.

When does it come into effect? The GDPR becomes effective May 25, 2018.

Who is protected? The GDPR protects data collection from residents of the European Union. In a sweepstakes or contest, this is the entrant.

Who is covered? Any person or entity that holds or uses personal data. For a sweepstakes or contest, this could be the Sponsor or an entity collecting entry or other information from the entrants.

What is covered? Personal data, which includes anything that can be used directly or indirectly to identify a person, such as a name, photo, email or street address, posts on websites, and computer IP addresses.

What to do for Sweepstakes and Contests? (more…)

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Opening Day Edition: Beer Advertising and Sports

Today (March 29) is baseball’s opening day and beer and baseball are in the news.  The New York Yankees appear to be in trouble for their new “Pinstripe Pilsner” which has an image of your favorite Yankee player in the foam.  But those of you wanting to take a sip of Aaron Judge’s mug may have to wait, since MLB does not allow current players on beer advertising.

Beer has been linked with baseball for as long as baseball has existed.  In fact, the original Cincinnati Redstockings left the National League in 1881 when its brewer-owner refused to sign a “no beer at the ballpark” pledge.  Today, there are still calls to take the suds out of sports.  But knowing the current do’s and don’ts of sports advertising will help you stay a-head of the game. (more…)

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Win Tickets to Opening Day, But How Do I Get There?

Today (March 29th) is baseball’s opening day – the earliest opening day in history.  If you’re going to the Yankees’ opener in Toronto, wear your ski caps it’s going to be 9 degrees Celsius – which sounds cold.

I bring up baseball because I noticed on mlb.com that there are sweepstakes that have been running for the opportunity to win tickets to different opening day games.  Note: tickets only.  As stated in the Official Rules: “TRANSPORTATION TO/FROM THE GAME AND LODGING NOT INCLUDED.”  Eligibility: Legal U.S. and Canadian residents (of course, excluding Quebec), 18 or older. (more…)

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