Advertising and marketing

Regulation

What rules govern digital advertising and marketing in your jurisdiction?

In Poland there are no specific legal rules on digital advertising.

EU law has had the biggest impact on digital advertising and marketing in Poland, in particular the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the implementation of EU directives through the Act on Providing Electronic Services and the Telecommunications Law.

GDPR limits targeted advertising, the sale of personal data and direct marketing of third parties. The Act on Providing Electronic Services and the Telecommunications Law prohibit unsolicited email marketing and other direct electronic messages, as well as unsolicited marketing calls and text messages.

Other acts prohibit or limit advertising certain products or services, such as gambling, alcohol, tobacco, medicinal products, dietary supplements and new-born nutrients. Lawyers, notaries, doctors and pharmacies are prohibited from advertising their services.

Advertising must not give rise to unfair competition or market practices. 

Are there any specific regulations governing the use of targeted advertising?

Targeted advertising is regulated by GDPR, the Telecommunications Law and the Act on the Prevention of Unfair Market Practices.

The Telecommunications Law regulates the use of cookies, in particular requiring notification of and consent to their use. Cookies and similar technologies (eg, Facebook pixel or other beacons) serve to identify user preferences. GDPR regulates monitoring and profiling and the resulting targeted advertising. There is ongoing debate over the extent to which GDPR limits the programmatic advertising model (ie, ‘ad tech’). Thus far the supervisory authorities have not taken a stance on the issue.

Restrictions

Are there any restrictions or limitations on goods and services that can be advertised, marketed and sold online?

There are several restrictions on goods and services that can be advertised, marketed and sold online, including the following:

  • Tobacco products – prohibition on advertising and selling tobacco products (understood as distance selling).
  • Medicinal products – prohibition on advertising medicinal products (ie, prescribed medication) to the general public, and prohibition on selling both prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medication if the sale of the OTC medication is restricted by age.
  • Gambling activities – limitations on advertising and marketing online gambling activities, as follows:
    • advertising and marketing is allowed only on the websites indicated in the gambling company’s licence;
    • prohibition on online gambling activities organised by entities which do not belong to the state monopoly and other unlicensed online gambling activities; and
    • limitation on advertising betting transactions.
  • Food products – limitations on advertising, marketing and selling certain food products, including the following:
    • infant formula advertisements can be published only in scientific publications specialising in the dissemination of knowledge in the field of childcare or academic publications, and should be limited to information confirmed by the research. Infant formulae should not be advertised at the place of sale;
    • prohibition on marketing infant formulae and infant feeding items through distribution of discount coupons, special sales and offering or providing free or reduced-price samples or other promotional items to consumers;
    • food items can be sold online only with a licence from the competent body; and
    • dietary supplement advertisements cannot contain clams or suggestions that a varied and balanced diet cannot supply sufficient amounts of nutritional elements.
  • Alcohol – prohibition on advertising alcohol online, with the exception of beers. However, beer advertisements cannot be directed to children (ie, in practice they can be displayed only after 10:00pm). Liquors over 4.5% alcohol by volume (except beers) cannot be sold online.
  • Products containing psychotropic or narcotic drugs – prohibition on advertising and promoting products containing psychotropic or narcotic drugs.

Spam messages

What rules and restrictions govern the sending of spam messages?

Spam (ie, unsolicited direct marketing messages) is regulated by Article 10 of the Act on Providing Electronic Services and Article 172 of the Telecommunications Law.

Electronic or telephone direct marketing requires the user’s prior consent, irrespective of whether the user is an individual or an organisation.

Sending spam may give rise to legal liability, including civil liability, criminal liability and administrative fines imposed by the president of the Office of Electronic Communications, the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection or the president of the Personal Data Protection Office (where illegal personal data processing is involved).

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