20 September 2010

Further regulation for on-line marketing

Kenneth Mullen
Partner | UK

The UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the ‘CAP Code') is to be extended with effect from March 2011 so that it will apply to advertising and other marketing communications on an organisation's own website and other non-paid-for online space under the organisation's control.

The extension of the Code's digital remit will affect charities which make charitable appeals or sell goods or services on their own websites or on their social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

Currently the CAP Code applies to adverts in emails and on-line paid-for space (e.g. in pop-up adverts or search listings) and on-line sales promotions, but not to non-paid-for adverts.

The inclusion of websites such as Facebook within the CAP Code's remit begs the question as to whether an organisation is responsible for ensuring that its website users comply with the CAP Code when submitting their own publicly-viewable comments. The Advertising Standards Authority, which enforces the CAP Code, has produced guidance which states that such user-generated content will prima facie be considered a marketing communication if the organisation adopts and incorporates the material within its own marketing communications.

Communications which do not constitute an advert or other marketing communication, such as editorials and press releases, do not come within the CAP Code's remit.

The CAP Code is available on-line here.

If you have any queries about how the revised CAP Code may impact on your organisation's activities, please contact Kenneth Mullen, a partner in our IP team.

Category: Article