1 minute read

False Advertising

Development Of Regulations

One early attempt to create advertising industry standards was made in 1911 when the trade journal Printer's Ink proposed that false advertising be classified as a crime. As a result, false advertising became a misdemeanor in 44 states. Statutes were based on the model statute suggested by Printer's Ink. These statutes are still in effect; however, they are rarely used because it requires proving that the false advertising exists BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, a difficult standard to meet.

In place of the Printer's Ink statute, states adopted the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act of 1964 (revised 1966), which lists a dozen different items that are prohibited in the advertising trade. The only remedy available under this act is injunctive relief—a court order that admonishes the guilty party for its actions— which may explain the low number of states that have adopted it. (As of 2003, only 12 states have adopted the statute in some form.) Other states have different statutes regarding false advertising. Most of these statutes require the courts to interpret state laws using federal guidelines provided by the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC). According to the FTC, which amended its standards to help regulate cigarette labeling, three elements are necessary to show that an advertisement is false or unfair. The ad has to offend public policy; be immoral, unethical, oppressive, or unscrupulous; and substantially injure consumers.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Ex proprio motu (ex mero motu) to FileFalse Advertising - Proof Requirement, Development Of Regulations, Types Of False Advertising, Trademark Infringement, Parody, Remedies For False Advertising