Last month, I had the privilege of being invited to attend and make a presentation at an mHealth and the Law Workshop in Washington, D.C., convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As part my presentation (October 7), I was asked to prepare a brief corresponding paper prognosticating the future of mobile medicine and health care. With permission of the AAAS, I am happy to share that paper with readers of Legal Bytes, and you can read the paper or download a copy for your personal use, right here: mHealth: Looking Forward [PDF].
Earlier today, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release indicating that after a review of many national television and print advertisements, warning letters have been sent to a number of companies – including some of the largest advertisers in the United States – noting that they had failed to make adequate disclosures in at least some of their advertising. The initiative, entitled Operation Full Disclosure, is intended to enforce regulations that prohibit advertising that misleads consumers.
The FTC’s targets in this operation are disclosures in fine print, those that were hard to read – even though they contained important information for the consumer. The letters warned advertisers they need to make sure disclosures are clear and conspicuous, and reminded advertisers the disclosures should be close to the claims that are being made. They must not be obscure or disguised with font sizes or colors that make it difficult to read, and on television, they should appear for a long-enough period of time and in a manner that will allow them to actually be read and understood. Consumers should not have to search for them!
Included within each of the FTC letters was a request that each of the advertisers respond back to the FTC with specific actions they individually intended to take regarding their particular advertising, in order to remedy any deficiencies.
You can read the full FTC Press Release and, as always, if you have questions, need help, want guidance, or want to know how best to ensure your advertising and marketing is in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, just contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, any lawyer in our Advertising, Technology & Media law practice group, or the lawyer with whom you regularly work at Reed Smith.
45 years ago, on July 20, 1969 at precisely 10:56 p.m. EDT, American Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon. Armstrong then stated, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Less than a month later, on August 15, 1969, 45 years from today, the festival officially billed as The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, An Aquarian Exposition, began and lasted through August 18th and became legendary - probably never to be replicated in exactly the same way, ever!
The Festival that ultimately became known as “Woodstock” actually never took place in Woodstock, New York (where Bob Dylan lived), but actually was held in the Catskill community of Bethel - 60 miles away - on a 600 acre dairy farm leased to the organizers by Max Yasgur.
. . . . and this is how it all started!
Which event do you remember best?
Last week I received a novel invitation - call it a ‘dare’ from a long-time colleague and friend in a faraway land. He and I have never actually met, but we have interacted so often professionally and we keep trying to figure out how and when we can end up at the same conference, perhaps even sharing a speaking opportunity or panel so we can finally say ‘Hello’ in person - even split a bottle of wine. The invitation was a novel twist on attracting speakers to a professional conference - specifically the 2014 Webit Global Conference to be held in Istanbul.
Although the agenda was pretty full already, the organizers decided to create some ‘buzz’ by allowing people to vote for a few speaking slots as “Audience Choice” selections. Imagine that, a professional conference with a ‘power to the people’ format. While obviously hoping to increase attendance and excitement for the conference, the balloting is online and you don’t have to be registered to vote.
Now I’m wise enough, with enough experience, to appreciate that a practicing lawyer will NEVER win a popularity contest. I mean seriously - who normally says “I love my lawyer and really want to hear him talk!” I believe this to be true, even if we aren’t charging by the hour!
But I do love a good challenge and I thought it would be a good opportunity to conduct an informal, completely unofficial and invalid experiment. So I sent requests to people I’m connected to on LinkedIn, tweeted on Twitter and provided a link, with ‘Please vote for my presentation’ on my email signature block. Here is what I know and what I learned so far:
1. On this Legal Bytes blog, there have been more than 120,000 visitors, with 76,000 of them unique. So far just this month, there have been more than 2,500 visits. My own contacts - friends, family, professional colleagues, adversaries and people I have met over the years - number well over 6,000. As of this morning, I had 3,677 direct connections on LinkedIn. That means, according to the platform, there are 18,240,386 professionals in my network. That’s more than 18 million people! Eat your heart out Ellen and Ashton! Who’s ‘trending’ now?
2. Although Legal Bytes gets posted on Facebook, I don’t use Facebook otherwise and I only have a little over 480 ‘followers’ on Twitter (most of whom I don’t know), but that may simply be because my tweets, like my Facebook posts, are simply feeds from my blog. Perhaps those other 76,000 people are getting their information here and don’t need to duplicate it on Facebook or Twitter. Further study may be required (not really).
3. If you don’t have a Facebook profile, the organizers won’t let you vote - an interesting condition for a professional conference. Not sure why they didn’t pick a different platform or not require any pre-condition of membership in a network.
4. The organizers apparently won’t let you vote even if you are registered with Facebook, if you don’t have enough ‘friends’ on your profile (a few of my lawyer friends tried to vote and they are just as unpopular as I am). I’m guessing the conference organizers only want people who can spread the word to lots of others.
5. As of this morning I had 92 (yes, 92) votes. See for yourself. Although I can’t really tell how many total potential speakers entered the contest, I am number 234 and some people have almost 1,000 votes already.
So far, my little experiment has led me to the following observations:
(a) My connections don’t vote, don’t want to vote or are out of the office and will get back to me as soon as they return;
(b) My connections really don’t like lawyers;
(c) My connections either don’t like this lawyer; prefer not to vote for this lawyer; prefer not to vote at all; didn’t qualify to vote (I may ask for a recount); or didn’t like the description.
(d) My thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of linked and networked connections don’t mean that much - it’s the people who know me that really count.
Perhaps there are or will be other lessons. After all, there are still 5 days left and if I ultimately end up with more than 18 million votes, I will be forced to admit I was totally wrong about the real power of social networks.
Our most recent Useless But Compelling Fact question asked if you knew where the character Batman came from, and we are happy to provide the answer.
Batman (or the Bat Man), the character, first appeared in May 1939 in Issue # 27 of Detective Comics. Batman would go on to be the star of the title (often written "Detective Comics featuring Batman"), and taking over the logo art on the cover. The comic book issue is considered to be among the most valuable comic books in existence - with one reported sale of a copy in very good (but not mint) condition selling for US$1,075,000. Holy Batman!
Some of you know that “Batman Begins” is a 2005 motion picture directed by Christopher Nolan, staring Christian Bale in the lead role as Batman.
The motion picture has an amazing supporting cast that includes such stars as Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman, and tells the origin of the character, beginning with Bruce Wayne's childhood fear of bats. The motion picture is one of a new series of films based on the crime-fighting adventures of the iconic Batman character.
What you may not know is where the character Batman actually comes from . . . if you don’t know, I’ll tell you when we publish the answer . . . next week! But if you do know, send me an email, or better, why not just use the Bat Signal . . .
Earlier this week, recognizing the FIFA World Cup fever sweeping the globe, we asked you to tell us how many "own" goals have been scored thus far in World Cup history. We also asked a bonus question – name the only player in World Cup history to score goals for both teams (his own and the competing team) in the same match.
The answers – both of which Shari Gottesman, longtime friend and Legal Bytes reader, got perfectly right – are:
As of today, 41 own goals have been scored in World Cup play.
In 1978, Ernie Brandts (born Ernstus Wilhelmus Johannes Brandts), playing for the Netherlands, scored an own goal in the 18th minute of play and then a "normal" goal for his team in the 50th minute of the match between the Netherlands and Italy. The Netherlands went on to win that match 2-1.
If you want to really immerse yourself in World Cup trivia:
- Manuel Rosas scored the first own goal in World Cup play in 1930 in the match between Mexico and Chile
- In 2002, in Portugal's match against the USA, the USA's Jeff Aggos scored an own goal in the USA net, and in the same game Portugal's Jorge Costa scored in Portugal's net
- Trinidad and Tobago, in its only appearance, is the only team that has scored more own goals than regular goals in World Cup history. It scored an own goal favoring Paraguay in 2006 and never scored for itself in the match.
Many of you are already familiar with the series of individual and topical cloud computing white papers that we launched in 2011. We spent the next months and years compiling these articles into a comprehensive work entitled, “Transcending the Cloud: A Legal Guide to the Risks and Rewards of Cloud Computing.”
The Consumer Finance Law Quarterly Report previously published two of our articles associated with “cloud-related” legal issues: The first applicable to financial services [65 Consumer Fin. L. Q. Rep. 57 (2011)] and the second related to advertising and marketing [65 Consumer Fin. L. Q. Rep 431 (2011)].
Recently, Joe Rosenbaum and Nancy Bonifant were privileged to have an article they wrote published as the third in the Consumer Finance Law Quarterly Reporter’s cloud computing series, and you can read the article right here: “Health Care in the Cloud: Think You Are Doing Fine on Cloud Nine? Think Again. Better Get Off My Cloud” [67 Consumer Fin. L. Q. Rep 367 (2013)]. The article represents an updated version of the article originally posted right here on Legal Bytes [See Transcending the Cloud - Health Care on Cloud 9? Are You Doing Fine?].
For more information about the implications of cloud computing and technology on health care, privacy compliance, and related legal matters, feel free to contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, or Nancy Bonifant or the Reed Smith attorney with whom you regularly work, and we can make sure you get the guidance and help you need to navigate the clouds.
Now that we are down to the final four teams, a little FIFA World Cup trivia is in order:
How many "own" goals (i.e., the player scores in his own team's net) have there been so far in World Cup history?
Name the only player in World Cup history to actually score goals for both teams in the same match.
Our May UBCF question asked who was the only pope in history to serve more than once, and the only one to have ever been accused of selling the papacy!
Pope Benedict IX, who lived from 1012 to 1056, was one of the youngest popes in history, being first elected at about the age of 20, serving as pope on three occasions between October 1032 and July 1048. He was first expelled from the papacy and succeeded by Sylvester III. He returned to reclaim the papacy in April 1045 and was persuaded to sell the papacy to Pope Gregory VI in order to avoid a scandal. Pope Gregory VI was also encouraged to resign in favor of his successor, Pope Clement II; but, regretting his resignation, Benedict IX returned to Rome and remained on the throne until July 1046, although Gregory VI continued to be recognized as the true pope.
Our last trivia question asked if you can identify the newspaper that claims to be the oldest, longest continuously published newspaper in the United States.
The Hartford Courant, which traces its origins to the weekly news publication that published its first issue October 29, 1764, today boasts the slogan "Older than the nation," and is generally recognized as the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States.
Can you tell me which newspaper claims to be the oldest, longest continuously published newspaper in the United States - even pre-dating its independence from Great Britain?
Only one Pope in history served as Pope more than once - curiously, he was one of the youngest in history and was the only man to have ever been accused of selling the papacy! Can you identify who that was?
In 1918 there were no Academy Awards. But there was another Oscar! Oscar Micheaux, who taught us something about financing media and entertainment projects - perhaps the first crowd funding entrepreneur in the publishing and motion picture industry.
If you would like to know more about crowd funding and what’s new and what’s next (and about Oscar), you can read about it in Volume 25, Issue 3 of the Entertainment Law Review, where an article about crowd funding, authored by Joseph I. Rosenbaum, was first published by Sweet and Maxwell in London (a Thomson Reuters (Professional) UK Limited company.
You can read Joe’s entire article or download the PDF for your own personal use (i.e., not for redistribution) right here: Crowd Funding - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Investment Bank. [PDF]
As always, if you want to know more about Crowd Funding (or any other matter requiring legal representation, counsel or guidance, please contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, or the Reed Smith attorney with whom you regularly work.
Next Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 1 p.m. EDT, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) will be providing a complimentary webinar entitled:
Bot Fraud: How to Protect Your Company and Brand
Bots—computer-generated, phony website visitors designed to mimic real traffic and trick advertisers into paying for non-human traffic—are a serious problem for digital marketers, causing damage in terms of CPM, revenue, and reputation. As this problem grows more prolific (and the bot technology more sophisticated), it’s imperative for advertisers and marketers to learn how to protect their companies and their brands.
To register and learn more, visit the ANA's website.
Date and Time: Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 1 p.m. EDT
Bot Fraud: How to Protect Your Company and Your Brand is part of a series of complimentary webinars from the ANA Government Relations group focused on legal and regulatory issues currently affecting the marketing community.