Section 5 of the FTC Act: To Parameter or Not To Parameter?

Section 5 of the FTC Act parameters
Will officials finally formalize FTC Act rules?

The FTC hosted a public debate about the benefits and negatives of defining and imposing parameters for Section 5 of the FTC Act — the federal law addressing unfair competition.

Both pro-guideline and anti-guideline advocates shared conflicting views, but they didn’t reach a consensus.

Section 5 of the FTC Act: A History of Conflict

For decades, pundits and politicians have quibbled over the FTC Act. People have strong opinions about Congress’ intent for approving the law in 1913.

Usually, discussions regarding Section 5 take place behind closed doors. But for the first time since 2008, commissioners hosted a debate where representatives from the public sphere and private sector convened to discuss the issues.

Parameters For Section 5 of the FTC Act?

Two questions anchor the FTC Act debate:

  • Should officials formalize parameters for Section 5? and
  • Should lawmakers pass additional federal online marketing statutes that address “unfair and deceptive” practices?

Pro-formalization people argue that transparency requires better-defined parameters. Anti-formalization advocates think the current process isn’t hurting the marketplace and stringent guidelines will result in unnecessarily bloated bureaucracy.

Does The Chatter About FTC Guidelines Transfer To Actual Action?

The FTC is in a transition phase; Chairwoman Ramirez is serving her final months at the helm, and new hires are being brought in for key technical positions. To wit, don’t expect significant policy movement on this matter for many months, if not years.

Questions About Section 5 of the FTC Act? Speak With A Lawyer.

In the meantime: if you’re facing an Internet law issue related to online promotional campaigns, or if you landed on the FTC’s radar, contact Kelly / Warner Law for help. A pioneer in the field of online marketing litigation, our team has helped over 500 companies and entrepreneurs navigate the peaks and valleys of advertising legalities. Get in touch today so we can start solving your legal problems, for the right price.


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