January 25, 2013


AAF Comments to ICANN

The AAF has submitted comments to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) urging the adoption of a proposal which would provide protection to brand owners and consumers when hundreds of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) go live.
The comments ask ICANN to adopt a system that would allow for Limited Protected Registrations (LPRs) that would establish a workable mechanism for brand owners to protect their most valuable assets. LPRs are a limited approach that would not unduly constrain the owners of new TLDs as they would only be available for exact matches for strings in the Trademark Clearinghouse. We believe this is a very reasonable solution to the issue and are hopeful that ICANN will agree.

Senator Harkin Goes After Food Advertising

Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has reintroduced the Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention (HeLP) America Act in the new Congress. Similar to measures he has introduced in previous Congresses, the bill would expand child nutrition programs, physical activity in schools, and create wellness opportunities in certain workplace environments, among other provisions.

Of particular concern to the advertising industry, the bill would give the Federal Trade Commission streamlined rulemaking authority and contains language requiring the FTC, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue recommendations for standards for food marketing to children.

Those four government entities expended considerable resource over the past few years trying to develop so-called “voluntary” guidelines for foods marketed to children.  Congress has already spoken on this effort as language was included in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed at the end of 2011, which prohibited the FTC from moving forward with the guidelines absent the cost-benefit analysis required of more formal federal regulations.

Minnesota Governor Proposes Tax on Advertising

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, D, has proposed a wide ranging tax plan that includes expanding the sales tax to include many business services, including advertising.  Representatives of AAF’s Minnesota advertising federations are consulting with industry allies to determine the most effective way to insure that advertising is not subject to the sales tax and can continue to provide jobs and economic activity in the state.

FDA Will Not Appeal Free Speech Marketing Decision

The FDA will not appeal a decision overturning the conviction of a pharmaceutical sales representative for a marketing a narcolepsy drug for purposes that had not been specifically approved by the agency.  In U.S. v. Caronia the Second Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the FDA’s regulation of “off label” marketing was a violation of the representative’s right to freedom of speech.

Rockefeller Retirement Announcement Could Affect Privacy

Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, has announced that he will retire after his current term ends in two years.  Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, has long been a proponent of strengthening online privacy laws, often in ways that AAF believes would be detrimental to industry and consumers. Rockefeller has been a frequent critic of the advertising industry and has often expressed skepticism about advertising and other industry self-regulatory programs.  It remains to be seen how his impending retirement will impact his leadership of the committee.  It could free him to push harder for legislation that has been stalled, or lessen his influence as a “lame duck” chairman.  The leadership of the Commerce Committee is undergoing many changes.  In addition to Senator Rockefeller’s announcement, the second ranking Democrat, Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, recently passed away and the next ranking Democrat, John Kerry, D-Mass., is expected to be confirmed as Secretary of State.  Former top Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Jim DeMint, R-S.C. have all retired. 

AAF’s Advocacy and Action: Advertising Day on the Hill Registration Open

Registration is open for AAF’s Advocacy and Action: Advertising Day on the Hill on April 17.  This exciting conference will feature a wide array of government, media and industry representative speakers discussing the key issues in Washington, DC that have a direct impact on how the advertising industry does business.  It is also an opportunity for the industry to make a show of force on Capitol Hill and explain to lawmakers the importance of advertising to consumers and the economy.  We urge you to make your plans now to join us in Washington, DC in April for this important event.

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The AAF protects and promotes advertising at all levels of government through grassroots activities. Our nation-wide network monitors advertising-related legislation on local, state and federal levels. We put our members face-to-face with influential lawmakers while encouraging self-regulation as a preemptor to government intervention, when appropriate of course. To learn more about our advocacy efforts, click here.