There is no doubt that we have some pretty strange and useless laws in our society… however… every once in a while a really good one gets put into place that serves the public interest. This new law, in my opinion, is one of them.
Basically, the new law says that bloggers have to reveal if they are paid or receive gifts for reviews. The New York Times says this:
The Federal Trade Commission will require bloggers to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products. It is the first time since 1980 that the commission has revised its guidelines on endorsements and testimonials, and the first time the rules have covered bloggers.
But the commission stopped short Monday of specifying how bloggers must disclose any conflicts of interest.
The FTC said its commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the final guidelines, which had been expected. Penalties include up to $11,000 in fines per violation.
This is long overdue in my opinion.
A similar issue came up a little while ago when Slashfilm, a very good site run by our friend Peter, put up a post that was “sponsored” by a studio. This created a bit of a uproar calling the credibility of the site into question. While I myself don’t agree with “sponsored” posts, I thought calling Slashfilms credibility into question was a bit silly since they openly and CLEARLY stated themselves that the post was indeed sponsored. How can you accuse someone of being sneaky when they fully and openly tell you exactly what they’re doing? Anyway…
I’ve always had a policy here at TMB to give a disclaimer whenever writing about a movie that someone I know or have worked with is involved. It’s just good practice to be a bit transparent on those issues so the reader can decide if they should take things with a grain of salt or not.
Regardless, I think this new “law” is a good idea. What do you think?