The operator of fan websites for celebrities including Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez has agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over alleged violations of Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the COPPA Rule. COPPA requires website operators to notify parents and obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13.

In violation of COPPA, the website operator was accused of collecting children’s names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth, gender, and more without first obtaining parental consent. In total, the operator registered over 25,000 children under the age of 13 and maintained information for close to 75,000 children who began to register but did not complete the registration process. Under the settlement, among other things, the operator is required to pay $1 million, avoid any future violations of the COPPA Rule, and delete information collected in violation of the COPPA Rule.

All website operators should be aware of COPPA and the requirements it places on those websites that collect personal information from children under 13. Additionally, all website operators should be aware of the fact that the COPPA Rule is currently under review by the FTC. Please see our previous alert here1 detailing the proposed revisions.