legal over

legal over

Is Your Website Or Social Media Contest Or Promotion Legal?

Posted on January 23, 2019 in Uncategorized

You may decide to offer some type of prize promotion, such as a sweepstakes or contest to promote your website or business. While sweepstakes and contests are generally permitted in most states, lotteries are not. The following summary of website and social media lottery, sweepstakes and contest laws should help your business stay within the boundaries of the law.

Online Lotteries

Lotteries are generally prohibited in each of the fifty states unless legislatively exempted (i.e., state run lotteries). The element of “chance” is one of the elements generally required to be present in order for some promotion or activity to violate a state anti-gambling statute. Most states have concluded that where the elements of skill, whatever they may be, predominate over the elements of chance in determining outcome then the game involved does not violate that state’s anti-gambling law.

A lottery consists of a prize, chance, and consideration. Therefore, sweepstakes, contests and similar promotions must omit one of the three elements of a lottery to avoid being deemed as an illegal lottery. They both only combine two of the three “lottery elements.” A contest combines the elements of prize and consideration, but the prize is awarded to on the basis of skill rather than chance. A sweepstakes combines the elements of prize and chance, but lacks the element of consideration.

Thus, a prize promotion that conditions the chance to win on subscribing for a service, purchasing a product or, in some states, visiting a physical store, may be deemed an illegal lottery.

Federal statutes prohibit, among other things, the mailing or transportation in interstate or foreign commerce of promotions for lotteries or the sending of lottery tickets themselves. (Pic-A-State Pa., Inc. v. Reno, 76 F.3d 1294 (C.A.3 (Pa.), 1996). State laws vary, but “chance” is one of the elements generally required to be present in order for a game to violate a state anti-gambling statute.

States restrict illegal lotteries through criminal anti-gambling laws. For example, the Illinois anti-gambling statute defines an illegal lottery as “any scheme or procedure whereby one or more prizes are distributed by chance among persons who have paid or promised consideration for a chance to win such prizes, whether such scheme or procedure is called a lottery, raffle, gift, sale or some other name.”

Most states have concluded that where the elements of skill, whatever they may be, predominate over the elements of chance, whatever they may be, in determining outcome, then the “chance” element is lacking and the game involved does not violate that state’s anti-gambling law. Most states apply this “dominant factor,” or predominance, test.

Are there express state Internet prohibitions?

The fact that a state has not passed a specific law does not make participation in or offering of gambling over the Internet legal under the laws of that state. The question is a complex one and is addressed in several of the articles included on this site.

Online Sweepstakes & Contests

Sweepstakes and contest or prize promotions are regulated by numerous federal and state laws. Federal agencies with jurisdiction to regulate sweepstakes promotions include the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), the United States Postal Service, and the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”). Sweepstakes promotions may also be regulated by state attorney generals and, in some states, district attorneys. In some states, this could require registration and obtaining a bond depending on the amount of the prize, among other requirements.

If you engage in this type of practice, talk to your Internet attorney to fill you in on the FTC and state requirements. You’ll also want to include sold terms and conditions of the contest or prize promotion to protect your business.

The key for conducting a sweepstakes is avoiding consideration. That definition varies and will depend on various factors, such as: (1) how easy or difficult it is to participate in the sweepstakes; and (2) whether an alternative method of entry (e.g., entry by mail or fax) is available. Examples of consideration include conditioning entry on the participants purchase a product, a monetary payment, visiting a store, or even providing detailed consumer information in some cases.

Social Media Contest Liability

The FTC’s 2009 revised guidelines confirmed that the rules continue to apply to endorsements and testimonials made directly through “new media” platforms including social media.The FTC has stated that a consumer endorsement made in an effort to win a prize is not different from a consumer endorsement in exchange for the payment of cash or free goods! If the chance to win a prize requires participants to post content featuring your business’s products or services, the participants must disclose that their posts are pursuant to a contest. (This includes “pinning” photos of your business’s products on Pinterest). Your business is expected to tell the participants to make clear that their posts are being made as part of a contest.

Don’t Forget To Disclose “Material Connections”!

In a nutshell, your business and any individual endorsers must disclose any material connection. According to the FTC, “When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience), such connection must be fully disclosed.”

For direct endorsements made on social media, the FTC guidelines state that receiving a payment, a free product or some other benefit from your business in exchange for posting a product review or other endorsement is a “material connection” which must be disclosed. The individual endorser is the party expected to clearly and conspicuously disclose that connection. However, your business is expected to advise the endorser up front that this connection should be disclosed and have procedures in place to try to monitor postings by such individuals to confirm the connections are being disclosed.

In March, the FTC sent a letter to the shoemaker Cole Haan indicating that the pins required to enter its contest on Pinterest for a chance to win the $1000 prize were endorsements subject to the disclosure requirements! In that letter, the FTC has essentially clarified that asking consumers to post, pin or otherwise publish content on a social media platform regarding the company’s products or services in order to enter a sweepstakes, contest or other prize promotion requires that the post be clearly labeled as being part of the contest!

How Should Social Media Contest Entry Disclosures Be Made?

It is not entirely clear how a chance to win a prize must be disclosed as a material connection with the contest posts or pins. What is clear is that a disclosure which makes no reference to a contest or to the company’s brand fails the FTC’s standards for disclosing the material connection. The FTC did not explain in its letter to Cole Haan exactly how such disclosures should read. But, according to the FTC’s.Com Disclosures guide, “disclosures must be communicated effectively so that consumers are likely to notice and understand them in connection with the representations that the disclosures modify.” This is required even though space-constrained limitations of mobile devices and social media platforms causes obvious problems.

So, potentially, using a hashtag that names the sweepstakes or contest with each post will be sufficient. But, to play it safe, businesses should use a longer disclosure indicating that the post is being made as part of entering a particular contest, when the platform allows for longer disclosures to be made.

Criminal Justice Degrees Online – Affordable Bachelors and Masters Programs

Posted on January 17, 2019 in Uncategorized

An online, or distance learning, college program is an affordable way to obtain your associates, or advanced degree in criminal justice. The average cost of a year of college education online is $5,000 a year. A traditional or campus based college or university can be up to $20,000 a year. The average salary for a police officer is above $45,000. This means you can see a return on your investment in the first year of work if you obtain your degree online. It will take you two years to start to see a return on your investment from a traditional campus based school.

With a degree in criminal justice you can work as a police officer, for the FBI, homeland security, the secret service or a private security company. You could be a US Marshall, work for the DEA, or be a private investigator. The choice of career with a degree in criminal justice is full of choices.

The average salary for a police officer is greater than $45,000, for the Secret Service, US Marshall or DEA the salary varies from 25 to 50,000 dollars. If the FBI employs you you can earn 40,000 to 48,000 dollars a year. With an advanced degree and experience a person with a degree in criminal justice can earn a six-figure income.

An online criminal justice, or law enforcement college education program will educate you about things such as domestic terrorism, security measure, vulnerability assessment, tactical communication, theory of crime, dispute resolution, intelligence gathering and analysis and other law enforcement related subjects.

An online criminal justice program will allow you to have flexibility, you can study and complete assignments 24/7 online. You will have access to assignments, resources, and other classmates through the Internet. An online college degree program website can provide you with information about schools, curriculum, costs, financial aid, and other aspects of online education programs.

[Top]

Staying Away From the US Department of Justice Virus

Posted on January 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

Department of Justice Virus is one of the latest threats from Ukash virus group that try to attack people living in the United States of America. This threat belongs to the category of ransomware, so it is designed to get inside the system secretly and then try to rip users off. Just like other related viruses such as the money pack virus – it creates lots of troubles for its victims by locking the system down. This results is complete system’s take over – user becomes incapable to get on the Internet, launch legitimate anti-malware programs or do other things on his PC. He only sees a forged Department of Justice Virus alert, which states that user is caught doing illegal activities on his computer. Before you fall for this alert, you must note that such organizations as Department of Justice do NOT collect their fines in such way. You must remove Department of Justice Virus immediately!

This scam is designed to use the same ways intrussion as all previous Ukash viruses: it uses spam emails, freeware, shareware and other sources to come inside undetected. Once there, it locks the system down and shows its only message, claiming that Windows system has been blocked because you have been using copyrighted content, visiting pornographic websites or even spreading malware. For that, now you have to make a payment of $200 using the Moneypak prepayment system. Here’s how this message looks like:

Your computer has been locked!

This operating system is locked due to the violation of the federal laws of the United States of America (Article: 1, Section 8, Clause 8; Article 202; Article 2012 of the criminal code of the U.S.A. Provides for the deprivation of liberty for four to twelve years.)

Following violations detected:

Your IP address was used to visit websites containing pornopraphy, child pornography, zoophillia and child abuse. Your computer also contains video files with pornographic content, elements of violence and child pornography!

(… )

You have 72 hours to pay the fine, otherwise you will be arrested.

(… )

No matter how trustworthy it seems, you must ignore this alert because it has nothing to do with Department of Justice. If you pay this $100 or $300 fine, you won’t have your computer unlocked and you will lose your money as well. In order to avid that, you should remove Department of Justice Virus as soon as possible.

HOW TO REMOVE THIS VIRUS

In order to remove Department of Justice virus, you should try following this information. It includes different methids that MAY work in this virus removal. Remember that manual removal methid can be used only if you have enough nowledge about computer’s system and its architecture:

* Users infected with Department of Justice virus are allowed to access other accounts on their Windows systems. If one of such accounts has administrator rights, you should be capable to launch anti-malware program.

* Try to deny the Flash to make your ransomware stop function as intended. In order to disable the Flash, go to Macromedia support and select ‘Deny’:

* Flash drive method:

  1. Take another machine and use it to download Spy Hunter or other reputable anti-malware program.
  2. Update the program and put into the USB drive or simple CD.
  3. In the meanwhile, reboot your infected machine to Safe Mode with command prompt and stick USB drive in it.
  4. Reboot computer infected with Department of Justice virus once more and run a full system scan with updated anti-malware program.

* Manual Department of Justice removal (special skills needed!):

  1. Open Windows Start Menu, enter %appdata% into the search field, click Enter.
  2. Go to: Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup.
  3. Remove ctfmon (don’t mix it with ctfmon.exe!).
  4. Open Windows Start Menu, enter %userprofile% into the search field, click Enter.
  5. Go to Appdata\Local\Temp and remove rool0_pk.exeDelete [random characters].mof file
  6. Delete V.class
  7. Run a full system scan with updated spy hunter program to remove remaining Department of Justice virus files.

UPDATE: There is a new Ukash virus, which uses the logo of the Department of Justice. This threat now says ‘ Your Computer Has Been Blocked’ The work of your computer has been suspended on the grounds of the violation of the law of the United States of America”. Similarly to the previous version of the Department of Justice virus, this ransomware shows a list of laws, that have been violated, and asks to pay the fine of $300 using MoneyPak prepayment system. Besides, it speaks to the victim!

[Top]