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Wineries, Social Media, Delays on Liquor Regs

As harvest season approaches, a couple of items of news:

Use of Social Media by Wineries. I attended a very interesting law conference in Seattle last week on the use of social media. One issue that was discussed in depth was the new approach of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission which has issued a set of endorsement guidelines in order to try to prevent consumers from being misled by product endorsements that are made in situations where there could be factors which influence the objectivity of the endorsement. Generally, the FTC is now requiring that endorsements make full disclosure of any material issue that might affect the endorsement. So, for example, if you are being paid by a winery to promote their wines, you would not be able to post a rave review on your blog without disclosing the fact that you are being paid. In addition, the FTC takes the position that free product or other benefits should be disclosed … hmmm, how many wine bloggers/reviewers/commentators get free product or free trips/dinners to the winery??? This definitely requires further study!

New Liquor Regulations. The new trade practices regulations dealing with the modernization of sponsorship/advertising rules and tied-house have apparently been delayed by a few months while the LCLB engages in consultation with the industry. Hopefully, this will not take too long as changes in these areas are welcome and long overdue.

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