Author: Alina Lee

Alina Lee, Founder of Your Ad Attorney law firm

FTC vs Adobe: A Battle Over Deceptive Subscription Practices

🚨Big news in the tech world—Adobe is in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly tricking customers with hidden fees and making it hard to cancel subscriptions. Here’s the scoop!

🕵️The Issue at Hand
Adobe, famous for software like Photoshop and Acrobat, is accused by the FTC of:
🔸Hiding Fees: A failure to clearly inform users early termination fees when cancelling their “annual paid monthly” plans in the first year – this info hidden in the fine print or behind tiny icons on Adobe’s website.
🔸Difficult Cancellations: Adobe made it a nightmare to cancel subscriptions. Consumers had to jump through numerous hoops and navigate several web pages, only to face delays, dropped calls, or uncooperative customer service when trying to cancel.

🔄Adobe’s Subscription Model
Since 2012, Adobe shifted from one-time software purchases to a subscription-based model, focusing on recurring payments:
🔹The Default Subscription Trap: Adobe pushed users towards the “annual paid monthly” plan by default. The monthly cost was prominently displayed, but for early cancellation consequences were not.
🔹Leverage Against Cancellation: The FTC alleges that early termination fees were used to trap subscribers in their subscriptions. These fees required payment of 50% of the remaining monthly payments, which could cost subscribers hundreds of dollars.
🔹Consumer Backlash: Many users, unaware of hidden fees, were shocked by unexpected charges. Complaints poured into the FTC and Better Business Bureau, yet Adobe continued these practices.

🛡️FTC’s Stand
“Americans are tired of companies hiding the ball during subscription signup and then putting up roadblocks when they try to cancel. The FTC will continue working to protect Americans from these illegal business practices.” -Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

📢What Does This Mean for You?
🔺Read the Fine Print: Always read the details. Look out for hidden fees and make sure you fully understand the cancellation terms.
🔺Report Deceptive Practices: If you run into problems with subscriptions, report them to the FTC at Your feedback can help hold companies accountable and protect other consumers.
🔺Practice Transparency: To businesses with subscription models – please stop hiding the ball.

📅Stay Tuned
This situation highlights the importance of clear and honest business practices. As technology continues to evolve, so should our expectations for fairness and accountability from the companies we trust.

The FTC is working to ensure more transparency and fairness in the digital marketplace, which is good news for all of us! ✨

💡Need help making sure your business’ practices are in compliance with the law? Contact us at Your Ad Attorney, Inc.

Does your business adequately protect customer data?

📍Major U.S. wireless carriers have been penalized nearly $200 million by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for illegally sharing customers’ real-time location data without consent and for failing to put in place adequate safeguards.

The fines range from $12 million to $80 million:
❗$12 million for Sprint
❗$47 million for Verizon
❗$57 million for AT&T
❗$80 million for T-Mobile
These penalties resulted from the carriers selling location data to aggregators who then passed it to third parties without proper customer consent.

The carriers were aware of data breaches but did not protect the data properly, violating Section 222 of the Communications Act. FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau Egal emphasized the carriers’ responsibility to safeguard customer data and prevent its misuse by foreign entities and criminals.

📋The FCC has also created a Privacy and Data Protection Task Force to strengthen rules, enforcement, and public awareness concerning privacy and data protection in the telecom industry. This move signals the FCC’s commitment to upholding privacy standards for consumers in the digital era and serves as a warning to businesses, particularly those dealing with customer data.

💡Need help making sure your business’ data collection and privacy practices are in compliance with the law? Contact us at Your Ad Attorney, Inc.

Not sure about the Licensing and Terms of Use of AI Image Generators?

🤖 Checking the terms of use (or service) and licensing agreement of an AI-generated image from a third-party source or platform is essential to see if there are any limits on using it on websites or commercial applications. Below are details of some well-known AI image generators and your rights in the content they produce.

🔸DALL-E (Open AI)
Cost: Free (15 Credits); Purchase an additional 115 credits for $15. Each credit allows you to create one “generation” using the system.
Terms of use: “As between you and OpenAI, and to the extent permitted by applicable law, you (a) retain your ownership rights in Input and (b) own the Output. We hereby assign to you all our right, title, and interest, if any, in and to Output.”

Cost: Free (Basic plan) to $24.75 per month (Pro plan, billed annually).
Terms of use: “Visme will not claim any copyright ownership over your
input data or the resulting material you generate.”

Cost: $8 per month (Basic plan, billed annually) to $96.99 per month (Mega plan, billed annually).
Terms of use: “ You own all Assets You create with the Services to the fullest extent possible under applicable law.”

🔹Bing Image Creator
Cost: Free
Terms of use: “Microsoft does not claim ownership of Prompts, Creations, or any other content you provide, post, input, or submit to, or receive from, Image Creator (including feedback and suggestions).”

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Notice and Consent: How [Not] to Notify Customers of Contract Changes

​📣In case you missed it, January 2024 was fairly eventful regarding notice and consent requirements. This area is evolving and is skewing pro-consumer.

❗So, what happened in January?

🔷Uber – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) heard oral arguments to determine whether Uber gave “reasonable notice” to its users before changing its terms. More specifically:

🔺Uber used an in-app pop-up notification that told users that its terms had been updated

🔺Users COULD click to view the terms, but they were NOT required to view them

🔺Users were also NOT required to “agree”

📌Keep in mind that the SJC required Uber to revise its T&C’s in 2021 after determining that Uber “must provide its customers reasonable notice of the company’s binding terms and obtain customers’ reasonable manifestation of assent to those terms”

🔶Popular Bank- The Second Circuit determined that bank customers did not provide contractual assent to new contract terms, and so the bank’s changes to its contract were not valid. The bank had simply mailed an “update” to its customers explaining the changes.

The Second Circuit sided with customers focusing on whether the changes were “reasonably communicated ” to customers in a “clear and conspicuous way.” It noted that the bank stated in its notice that “continues to be a Mandatory Arbitration Provision,” which was misleading, because an arbitration provision was not previously part of the agreement.

💡Key takeaways:

If you make changes to a passive agreement (one where the other party does not negotiate):

🔅Tell the other party about the changes in a way that is clear, truthful, and hard-to-miss

🔅Ensure the other party takes some action that indicates they agree to maintain the contractual relationship.

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Can Lawyers use AI-generated images for their Websites?

🤖 With the development of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, content creation is affecting lawyers who use images on their websites and in their marketing. A failure to obtain licenses to use human-made images can lead to hefty copyright penalties, but AI offers a potential solution.
A significant legal case, Thaler v. Perlmutter, highlighted the issue of copyright for AI-generated works, ruling that human authorship is a necessary component for copyright protection. Despite this, AI-generated images can still be used on websites if they don’t infringe on copyrighted material and the underlying IP rights are not disputable. Here are some tips for using AI-generated images responsibly on your website.
✅ Determine the Image’s Ownership, Examine the Terms of Use
Make sure you have the necessary rights or permission for AI-generated images. Unlike when you create an image yourself, you do not own AI-generated content by default. If you prompted an AI-generated image from a third-party source, check its licensing agreement/terms of use to see if the AI output can be used on websites, for commercial applications, or any other specific restrictions.
✅ Select Photos That Talk About Your Practice and Your Target Market
Choose images that reflect your expertise, professionalism, and personality, while also aligning with your brand identity and tone. For instance, if you specialize in corporate law, opt for images that convey professionalism, success, or innovation.
✅ Give Appropriate Credit
Respect the licensing terms or any applicable copyright laws by giving the AI-generated image’s developer due credit. Accurate labeling of AI-generated photos is essential to avoid confusion or incorrect attribution, especially as regulations in this field are still developing.
💡Need help making sure the images used in your business are in compliance with the law? Contact us at Your Ad Attorney, Inc.

Can you easily change your Privacy Policy without informing users?

🤖 Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies often rely on their user databases as a primary source to drive tech and business innovation. However, they also have privacy policies to safeguard user information, leading to a conflict between business goals and privacy commitments.

Companies may attempt to address this conflict by altering their privacy policies to expand data usage, potentially without informing users. They adopt more lenient data practices, such as sharing consumer data with third parties or using it for AI training, without transparently informing consumers through updated terms of service or privacy policies. However, such actions could lead to legal consequences if companies fail to uphold their privacy commitments.

The FTC has a history of challenging deceptive practices related to privacy policies that breach promises made to consumers. For example:
🔹 20 years ago, the FTC charged Gateway Learning Corporation, the maker of “Hooked on Phonics,” for violating the FTC Act. This was due to changes in its privacy policy that allowed sharing consumer data with third parties without informing or obtaining consent from consumers.

🔹 Last summer, the FTC accused a genetic testing firm of breaking the law by revising its privacy policy to widen the types of third parties with whom it could share consumers’ personal data retroactively. The FTC stated that the company did so without informing or obtaining consent from consumers who had previously shared personal data.

📌 The FTC remains committed to taking action against companies involved in unfair or deceptive practices, including those that covertly alter their privacy policies or terms of service to gain unrestricted access to consumer data for product development.

📖 Read more here:

💡 Need help making sure your business’ privacy policy is in compliance with the law? Contact us at Your Ad Attorney.

New Proposed Ruling to Make Usage of AI Voice Calls Illegal

📌FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel announced a proposed Declaratory Ruling that would clearly identify calls made using AI-generated voices as “artificial” sounds under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). As a result, AI calls would be governed by the FCC and the TCPA, which would, according to the news release, “make voice cloning technology used in common robocalls scams targeting consumers illegal.”

Furthermore, the news release states that “FCC will give the State Attorneys General across the country new tools to use to combat these scams and protect consumers”

📋The FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in November asking for feedback on how developing AI technology will affect the agency’s ongoing efforts to shield customers from unsolicited and unlawful phone calls and texts under the TCPA.

In addition to the announcement, the Biden Administration issued an executive order on AI in October 2023 encouraging the FCC to combat unwanted robocalls and robotexts that are made possible or made worse by AI and to implement AI technologies that improve consumer service by preventing unwanted robocalls and robotexts.

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Did you know the federal government is now requiring business owners to report who owns each business?

📌What are the new reporting requirements?
Effective January 1, 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act requires many companies to report information about who owns or controls the company to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Failure to report the information to the federal government can result in both civil and criminal action.

📌Who is required to report?
🔸Companies formed or based in the USA and foreign companies registered to do business in the USA
🔸However, there are 23 types of entities that are exempt from the reporting requirements, including non-profits and certain “large operating companies” who have reported over $5,000,000 in revenue.

📌What are the deadlines for reporting BOI?
🔹If your company was formed before January 1, 2024, then you must report by January 1, 2025.
🔹If you form your company in 2024, you must report within 90 days of formation.
🔹If you form your company on or after January 1, 2025, you must report within 30 days of formation.

📌How do you report for ownership information with FinCEN and comply with the new law?
Complete your report on the FinCEN website for free.

📌How often do you need to report information?
Business owners only need to report their ownership information once plus each time there are changes in ownership, which must be made within 30 days.

📌Want more information?
Be sure to review FinCEN’s Small Entity Compliance Guide and their FAQs, which provide information to help small businesses comply with the new reporting requirements.

💡Need assistance filing your report?We are here to help!

Your Ad Attorney 3-Year Anniversary

Your Ad Attorney, Inc. is celebrating its 3rd anniversary today! It’s remarkable how far we’ve come. 🎉

In the last three years, we’ve gone from me working on my own to a team of 10 people and reached the $1M in revenue mark. 🎉

I am so incredibly thankful to:

💎my husband, Alex Meier, for being my biggest supporter and for encouraging me to start my firm

💎my business coach, Tim Fulton, for guiding me and encouraging me to keep going on my toughest days

💎my amazing team, Alexis Marie de la SernaDavid BennettClaudette EnteraAllison Bazinet, Senami CraftKaterina Velanova, Kendall Carter, Caroline Pham, Nicole Zajack, and Osh Lucas for your support and companionship

💎my life coaches, Jill Kersh, MCC, CPCC and Connie McIntyre, for helping me identify my personal mission, vision, and values and for sticking with it

💎my therapist, Dr. Adrienne, for helping me stay healthy mentally and emotionally during my “downs”

💎my amazing clients who believe in me and trust in the team I’ve built

💎my dear friends and family for their love and encouragement

💎everyone else who has mentored me and supported me

It takes a village! I am so fortunate and appreciative to everyone in my life who has helped me the last three years.

With your help, I’ve created something amazing– a law firm that provides true work/life balance to its people. Our team members all get to choose how many hours a week they want to work (between 15-40 hours a week), what days of the week they want to work (3-day and 4-day work weeks are fine!) and share their preferences on the type of legal work they want to handle.

We now have 7 attorneys, and 3 staff members! We also have over 150 clients, including almost ten Fortune 1000-sized companies.

When I started my firm, I did not think I would get to where I am today as quickly (and joyfully!) as I have.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ❤️

#thankful #lawfirm #anniversary #friendship

New FCC Rule: Consent to Receive Automated Calls/Texts Can Be Given to One Company at a Time

📋 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued an order adopting a new rule that will limit the ability of businesses to contact potential customers found using lead generators.

Background: It’s been well established by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that companies cannot make autodialed calls and texts or prerecorded voice messages without having the recipients’ express written consent. The issue addressed by the FCC’s order is that companies have been obtaining consent – but not just for themselves. To the detriment of the people, companies often obtain blanket consents that allow numerous companies to contact an individual, in what is called “the lead generator loophole.” They then pass along the names and phone numbers of the consenting individuals as “leads” to other companies.

The new “One-to-One Consent Rule” closes the lead generator loophole by mandating:

🔸Individuals can provide consent to receive robotexts and robocalls to only one company at a time.

🔸The calls/texts they receive after they provide consent must be “logically and topically associated with the interaction that prompted the consent”

📌 In short, the FCC has clarified that a automated call/text consents cannot simply list or hyperlink to a list of multiple telemarketers to which the consent may apply. Companies that violate the one-to-one consent rule could be subject to statutory damages under the TCPA, which are stated $500 per call/text and $1500 per call/text if done “knowingly”. (THEY ADD UP QUICK!!)

This new rule will most significantly affect business that utilize lead generators to contact new business leads. The financial services, real estate, and insurance industries are just a few that commonly rely on this practice.

☎️ Contact Your Ad Attorney, Inc. today. We help businesses comply with the ever-evolving world of advertising laws.

#FCC #business #advertisinglaw #TCPA


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