Tuesday, October 20, 2009

FTC Guidlines "Not aimed at individual bloggers," reports PW

Freaked out about the new FTC guidelines for review and placement of products (i.e. book-blogging)? Sue Corbett of Publisher's Weeky reports on Mary Engle's address to the Kidlit Blogger Conference (follow that roundup over at MotherReader):

The Federal Trade Commission, which set the blogging world aflame two weeks ago with new guidelines governing truth-in-cyberspace-advertising, “never intended to patrol the blogosphere,” said Mary Engle, an FTC lawyer who addressed KidlitCon 09, a conference of kids’ book bloggers held last weekend in Alexandria, Va. “We couldn’t do it if we wanted to and we don’t want to.”

Engle, the FTC’s associate director for advertising practices, spoke to the gathering of 70 bloggers at the invitation of conference organizer Pam Coughlan, who blogs as Mother Reader. “Everybody who talked to me after she spoke said they felt so much better and that they understood the issues much better,” Coughlan said.

The guidelines set off a firestorm in the blogosphere when an Associated Press story stated that, beginning December 1, the FTC would “require bloggers to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products,” including books, or face fines of up to $11,000.

Not so, Engle said. “These are guidelines which don’t have the force of law. They are intended to put meat on the bones of the ‘endorsement and testimonial’ guidelines first issued in 1980, but they are distinct from the FTC’s rules and regulations, which carry civil penalties if violated.”

Whew. Read the rest at PW.

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