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Regulatory Reforms Afoot at the FTC: Now’s Your Chance to Weigh in

As part of Acting Chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen’s regulatory reform initiative, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is asking for the public’s input on the Picture Tube, Textile, Energy Labeling, and CAN-SPAM Rules. The comments will inform the Commission’s decision on whether to update these rules.

  • The Textile Rule obliges marketers of textiles to label their goods properly for identification purposes. The FTC seeks comments on a proposal to eliminate the obsolete labelling provisions, “which require marketers to attach a label to a textile product disclosing the manufacturer or marketer name, the country where the product was processed or manufactured, and the generic names and percentages by weight of the fibers in the product.”
  • The Picture Tube Rule requires manufacturers to adopt uniform measurement of television screen sizes and requires advertisers to base any representation of the screen size on the horizontal dimension of the actual, viewable area so that consumers know exactly what to expect. The FTC is looking for particular feedback regarding whether the rule is still needed at all as well as opinions on its “efficiency, costs, benefits and impact.”  The commission will consider new television technology “including plasma, LED, OLED, and other similar materials in flat display screens” as it deliberates possible changes.
  • Under the Energy Labeling Rule, EnergyGuide labels are required on certain appliances “to help consumers compare similar models.” The Commission is proposing to update this rule “to eliminate provisions that are obsolete and unnecessarily burdensome and to account for new products in the marketplace.” The FTC’s proposed changes are informed by feedback it received in an earlier call for comments that ended in September 2016.
  • The CAN-SPAM Rule  implements the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act and sets forth requirements for commercial email messages. The FTC is seeking comment on the benefits of the Rule, the costs of compliance, and whether it should be amended, for example, to account for technological or economic changes.

Comments on the Textile Rule must be submitted by July 31, 2017. Feedback on the Picture Tube Rule and the CAN-SPAM Rules must be submitted by August 31, 2017. All comments should be submitted at www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments.

Acting Chair Ohlhausen stated: “Regulations can be important tools in protecting consumers, but when they are outdated, excessive, or unnecessary, they can create significant burdens on the U.S. economy, with little benefit. Private firms face constant market pressure to innovate and improve, and I see no reason why government should operate any differently. American taxpayers should expect nothing less from us.”

As the reform process continues, the FTC may update or repeal other rules. Stay tuned.

© 2018 Keller and Heckman LLP


About this Author

Sheila Millar, Keller Heckman, advertising lawyer, privacy attorney

Sheila A. Millar counsels corporate and association clients on advertising, privacy, product safety, and other public policy and regulatory compliance issues.

Ms. Millar advises clients on an array of advertising and marketing issues.  She represents clients in legislative, rulemaking and self-regulatory actions, advises on claims, and assists in developing and evaluating substantiation for claims. She also has extensive experience in privacy, data security and cybersecurity matters.  She helps clients develop website and app privacy policies,...

Tracy Marshall, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, for-profit company lawyer

Tracy Marshall joined Keller and Heckman in 2002. She assists clients with a range of business and regulatory matters.

In the business and transactional area, Ms. Marshall advises for-profit and non-profit clients on corporate organization, operations, and governance matters, and assists clients with structuring and negotiating a variety of transactions, including purchase and sale, marketing, outsourcing, and e-commerce agreements.

In the privacy, data security, and advertising areas, she helps clients comply with privacy, data security, and consumer protection laws, including laws governing telemarketing and commercial e-mail messages, contests and sweepstakes, endorsements and testimonials, marketing to children, and data breach notification. Ms. Marshall also helps clients establish best practices for collecting, storing, sharing, and disposing of data, and manage outsourcing arrangements and transborder data flows. In addition, she assists with drafting and implementing internal privacy, data security, and breach notification policies, as well as public privacy policies and website terms and conditions. 

Nathan Cardon, Keller Heckman, product safety attorney, labor lawyer, consumer protection law, cybersecurity matters

Nathan Cardon joined Keller and Heckman in 2013.  Mr. Cardon practices in the areas of product safety, privacy, and advertising.

In his product safety practice, Mr. Cardon counsels clients on risk management and product safety strategies, as well as on compliance with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirements, including new requirements under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). 

In the privacy and advertising practice, Mr. Cardon is involved in a wide variety of privacy, data...