Affiliate Summit: Ads And Liability

    July 9, 2007

At the Affiliate Summit in Miami, Steve Richter, President, Media Breakaway and Pete Wellborn, founder, Wellborn and Wallace, Attorney at Law spoke on advertising regulations in a session called "What You Don’t Know May Hurt You."

Pete Wellborn said most lawyers don’t know about affiliate programs and they don’t understand Internet law. He said the government has put a bull’s eye on affiliate programs with the Federal Trade Commission calling the shots.

He touched on vicarious liability saying you are generally liable for a contractor’s acts and the Federal Trade Commission has strict liability for acts of affiliates.

He offered practical steps for protection. He said to know who your affiliate is, what the contract terms are and to have a written agreement executed by both parties.

Steve Richter said ads must be truthful and to use non-deceptive advertising, along with evidence to support claims. He said a rule of thumb to use is "would your grandma understand the ad?"

As for privacy he said to beware of the wares such as spyware and adware. He recommended checking the privacy policy every 3 months and to have lawyers look at the policy.