Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Exciting new media. Same old laws.

If AdNotes were a child it would be starting school next year. Or put another way, we have just turned five. (Gifts gratefully accepted by AdNotes’ Dad, Tony)

In 60 issues of AdNotes, I’ve never given legal advice … until now.

But, as often happens, several related events enter my radar space at around the same time and I am compelled to glue them together to make a point.

Those several things are in order:

1. A video uploaded to YouTube by ad agency Leo Burnett, showing an internal creative exercise, had to be quickly taken down because it used music without permission or payment.

Shouldn’t a traditional agency know about music copyright?

2. Online media publication, Mumbrella reported that, “ “Ideas agency” Tongue, which recently rebranded from Ikon spin-off New Dialogue, has been forced to pay $22,000 to the communications regulator and make a legally enforceable undertaking about its future conduct after arranging for spam mobile messages to be sent on behalf of client Coca Cola.”

Shouldn’t a digital agency know about spam?

3. An article by Julian Lee, marketing editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, quotes Mathew Liu of YouTube as saying, “We hope that over time our advertisers will blur the lines between advertising and editorial.”

Didn’t John Laws and Alan Jones get into hot water over this?

Julien goes on to quote Freehills Legal firm partner Sue Gilchrist. “Advertisiers are going to have to be very careful in this space, as the fact that they have planted an ad and it is not made apparent [to viewers], in itself, could be seen as a contravention of the Trade Practices Act.”

That means that even viral films (created as marketing) that are not ‘addy’ enough may be in breach of the code!
So while the digital sphere is incredibly exciting for marketers and their suppliers, it cannot remain a legal cowboy town forever.

The basics still apply.
- Music (or images) used publicly must be paid for.
- You can’t spam.
- An ad has to obviously be an ad.

Kids creating mashups may get away with it. But don’t think the old rules don’t apply in cyberspace, especially if you represent a large company.

PS. Some further spam advice:

AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit or or leave comments and view back issues at our blog Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

1 comment:

online sales sydney said...

How exciting, I will certainly take a look at that type of blog.