Rules from Picture Tube to CAN-SPAM get makeover

New Rules

In late June, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced changes and has requested comment on four of its rulesets, focusing on its Picture Tube Rule, Textile Rule, Energy Labeling Rule and CAN-SPAM Rule.

Size Matters

The FTC seeks public comment on its Picture Tube Rule, first implemented in the 1960s and last updated in the 1990s. The rule mandates that advertisers measure screen size based on the horizontal axis of the screen, unless they notify the consumer otherwise in a conspicuous manner. Changes in screen technology since the last update are prompting the request and review.

House Rules

An aspect of the Textile Rule was also opened to requests for comment. The rule allows companies to establish a “housemark” to be used on textile tags in lieu of the company’s name as long as the mark is registered with the FTC. The online availability of trademark information may render this requirement unnecessary.

It Was All Yellow

The Energy Labeling Rule mandates the familiar yellow EnergyGuide labels consumers see on appliances. The FTC is proposing changes to eliminate obsolete labeling requirements for plumbing products, exempt a subset of ceiling fans and provide labeling for electric instantaneous water heaters.

Can It!

Finally, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act mandates the so-called CAN-SPAM Rule, which requires that marketing and other commercial emails contain accurate header and subject lines, among other features, to reduce or eliminate unwanted email. The rule is up for general review to assess whether it has had a beneficial effect. Possible changes to the rule in light of technological advances and the cost of compliance will be considered.

The Takeaway

The FTC executes ongoing, systematic review of its rules and guides to ensure they are both relevant and up-to-date. Marketers should check on the FTC’s review schedule at the federal register to see whether rules that affect their industries are up for comment or review.