Melissa Landau Steinman

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In February 2018, the FTC teamed up with the Missouri Attorney General’s office in filing a complaint against a prize promotions company and others that allegedly operated a large-scale deceptive prize scam targeting the elderly. A little more than a year later, the FTC and the Missouri AG’s office announced that they reached a settlement to the tune of $30 million. The settlement is comprised of $21 million in cash, and the remainder will be…
In light of a new California decision interpreting California’s wage and hour law, brand companies should take a careful look at their influencer compliance programs not only for FTC compliance, but also potential employment law consequences. How a company establishes and maintains influencer compliance can potentially convert the influencer from an independent contractor to an employee. We know the FTC’s view is that it takes a village to ensure influencers disclose any material connection to…
There are certain words and phrases that set the antennae of promotions lawyers – and law enforcers – buzzing. “Everybody wins” comes to mind right away – but there is one little word that can pay out tremendous legal problems and should concern anyone involved in executing sweepstakes and promotions. That word is “raffle.” While many people use “raffle” interchangeably with “sweepstakes” or “drawing” to designate a legal game of chance that any entity can…
We are pleased to announce that Venable has been accepted as a member of GALA (Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance). GALA is an alliance of lawyers located throughout the world with particular expertise and experience in advertising, marketing and promotion law. (Click here to go to the GALA website.) Being a GALA member will help us better serve our many clients whose marketing efforts now span the globe. Firms participating in GALA represent nearly 100 countries…
It is no secret that influencer marketing—in which social media influencers have the ability to engage with their followers and create “organic” content about a particular product or service—is a huge asset for companies. It is also no secret that advertisers, agencies and influencers alike are often confused about how to comply with the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials. While the FTC has attempted to clarify its position in subsequent…
And the big “winner” is (drumroll) … the Italian Competition Authority. A multinational electronics company was a most recent victim of the stringent Italian prize promotion regulations — to the tune of € 3.1 million (or roughly US$3.37 million). The costly sanctions were imposed on the company by Italian authorities for, among other issues, unfair commercial practices. The authorities challenged the execution of some of the company’s promotions, claiming that the advertising for the promotions…
Perhaps some readers once (or still do!) enjoyed some Natty Light while listening to the Beastie Boys. Some time ago, we blogged about the ongoing Beastie Boys litigation against Monster Energy over copyright and right of publicity issues for a video Monster Energy posted on its website. The next case to watch is Kraft v. Anheuser-Busch, LLC where individual Kayla Kraft sued Anheuser-Busch for copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, and violation of her right of publicity…
It has been almost a decade since a water-drinking contest held by an Entercom’s Sacramento radio station resulted in the death of a contestant, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a long memory.  Last week, the FCC issued a Hearing Designation Order (it can be found here) to determine whether the license held by Entercom – one of the largest station owners in the country – should not be renewed based on new…
Join Venable on October 27 for a half-day workshop in the firm’s Los Angeles office designed to make sense of recent enforcement actions involving social, influencer, and native campaigns. Venable’s Amy Ralph Mudge, Randy Shaheen, Melissa Steinman, and Po Yi will share best practices that in-house counsel and compliance personnel at brands, agencies, and publishers can use to mitigate legal risk. In addition, the workshop will provide nuanced tips for structuring deals…
Will the Patriots’ dreams of heading to this year’s Super Bowl® get deflated? What, exactly, will Olympic® gold medalist Ryan Lochte do in Rio? How much madness will March cause? This year will be a big one for sports fans and advertisers alike, with Super Bowl 50 and March Madness® around the corner, followed this summer by the Olympic Games® in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With millions of viewers tuning in, these…