Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project

E-Commerce :: Reference

| Proceedings | Fed Activity | Links | News | Gambling | E Signatures | Fraud | Privacy |
| E-Medicine | Online Investing | Intellectual Property | Antitrust | Taxes | Statistics| Alcohol & Tobacco |

Released May 6, 2000
FTC File No. P974102
Comments due by July 7 . .

Electronic Media Policy Statement


"The Federal Trade Commission today published a proposal regarding the applicability of the Commission's rules and guides to electronic media, including the Internet, e-mail and CD-ROMs. The proposal, announced today in a Federal Register notice, seeks public comments to initiate a dialogue on the issues with the goal of formulating a formal policy statement. The Commission's purpose is to clarify that while most offline rules apply online, a policy statement, based on public comment, would reduce any uncertainty as to how they apply to the electronic media. 

"The Internet's development as a commercial medium is transforming the global marketplace -- carrying with it the potential to provide enormous benefits to consumers," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "In order to ensure its potential, however, consumers need to know the extent to which consumer protections that apply in the offline world also apply to the Internet. This proposal is the first step in developing clear guidance about how the law will apply to online advertising and commercial transactions. The Commission's experience has been that formal policy guidance generally results in voluntary compliance by industry."

"According to industry surveys, 62 million people in the United States, now have access to the Internet, making it a popular medium for advertising goods and services and for conducting commercial transactions. It is estimated that businesses spent $906.5 million for advertising on the Internet in 1997. These advertisements may contain text, pictures, video, sound, interactive graphics or a combination of all of these features. In addition to using the Internet to advertise their products, businesses also use CD-ROMs and e-mail to disseminate information about their products to consumers. 

"An Enforcement Policy Statement would describe how and why many of the Commission's consumer protection rules and guides apply to advertising and marketing on electronic media. The rules and guides cover some 40 subjects ranging from environmental marketing claims to credit practices. Uncertainty about the applicability of the rules and guides to electronic media may currently exist because of the use of terms, such as "written," that may more commonly be associated with print media. The understanding of the term "written" and other terms has evolved with the use of new technology. Therefore, the Commission's proposal would clarify that, when used in the rules and guides, the term "written" refers to information that is capable of being preserved in a tangible form and read. The Commission's proposal also discusses how electronic media could be used to comply with the rules and guides.

"In addition, the proposal also would provide guidance regarding how disclosures should be made in electronic media advertising. Many rules and guides require or recommend that material information be disclosed to consumers to prevent deception. Internet advertising contains unique features that raise new issues in making disclosures effectively. The proposal discusses the factors the Commission would consider in evaluating the effectiveness of disclosures and solicits comment on these issues. "

The FTC will accept comments submitted to  All submissions should be captioned "Interpretation of Rules and Guides for Electromic Media - Comment, FTC File No. P974102

POC: Laura J DeMartino, Attorney, FTC, 6th Street and Penn Ave., NW, Wash, D.C. 20580, Telephone 202-326-3030,

Federal Register Notice May 6, 2000 PDF

News Release (May 6, 1998)

Public Comments

FTC Electronic Media Webpage

Barriers to E-Commerce

" The Department of Commerce, on behalf of the Subgroup on Legal Barriers to Electronic Commerce ("Legal Barriers Subgroup") of the U.S. Government Working Group on Electronic Commerce, requests public comments and suggestions concerning policies, laws or regulations that need to be adapted in order to eliminate barriers to and promote electronic commerce, electronic services, and electronic transactions."

  • Fed Reg. Notice
  • Comments Filed
  • Comment period closed April 24
  • Federal Activity

    Consumer Information and FAQs
  • E-Commerce and Development Report 2003, UNCTAD 11/21/2003
  • Holiday Shopping Online? FTC Offers Tips to Help Consumers Decide How to Wrap Up a Good Buy!, FTC 11/7/2003
  • United States and Twelve Countries Unveil April 24, 2001
  • FTC Follows up on "Project" With "Surf" of E-tailers, Educational Campaign On Holiday Shipping Promises Nov 17, 2000 ftc
  • FTC: Dot Com Disclosures: Information About Online Advertising [PDF]

  • Your site for cross-border 
    ecommerce complaints
    Testimony & Hearings
  • FTC “Surf” of 51 Internet Retailers Designed to Strengthen Consumer Confidence in Online Shopping, FTC 11/11/2003
  • FTC Testifies on Implications of Recent E-commerce Study, FTC 10/31/2003
  • Testimony before House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection hearing on "State Impediments to E-Commerce: Consumer Protection or Veiled Protectionism?", FTC 9/26/02
  • FTC to Host Public Workshop to Explore Possible Anticompetitive Efforts to Restrict Competition on the Internet Oct 8-10, FTC 7/19/02
  • Secretary of Commerce Don Evans Applauds Senate Passage of Export Administration Act as Modern-day Legislation for Modern-day Technology, DOC 9/7/01
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Science, Technology, and Space Subcommittee To hold hearings to examine security risks for the E-consumer 1pm SR-253, Cong 7/12/01
  • May 22 The Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection has scheduled a hearing: Impediments to Digital Trade. 2:00 p.m., in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building
  • Jun 29-30 FTC Workshop on B2B E-Commerce. Dept of Ag, Wash, D.C.
  • Jun 22 Sen Commerce Committee To hold hearings to examine issues dealing with  aviation and the internet, focusing on purchasing  airline tickets through the Internet, and whether  or not this benefits the consumer. SR-253 9:30 am.
  • May 30 - Jun 1 E-Commerce and the Digital Divide: Meeting the Challenge Conference Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Definition

    •  Internet Tax Freedom Act Sec. 1101(3) " Electronic commerce.-The term 'electronic commerce' means any transaction conducted over the Internet or through Internet access, comprising the sale, lease, license, offer, or delivery of property, goods, services, or information, whether or not for consideration, and includes the provision of Internet access. "



  • Bogus Domain Name Seller Settles FTC Charges, FTC 12/4/02
  • Companies That Billed Consumers for Adult "Videotext" Internet Services Settle FTC Charges, FTC 12/2/02
  • FTC 'Surf' of 63 Internet Retailers Designed to Bolster Consumer Confidence During the Holiday Season, FTC 12/2/02
  • FTC Files Amicus Brief Opposing Barriers to Internet Casket Sales, FTC 9/10/02
  • Internet Casino Developers Settle FTC Charges More Than $550,000 for Investor Redress; $2 Million Bond Required Nov 15, 2000 ftc
  • Seven Internet Retailers Settle FTC Charges Over Shipping Delays During 1999 Holiday Season July 26, 2000 ftc
  • FTC Press Release: FTC Terminates HSR Waiting Period for Covisint B2B Venture 9/11
  • Jun 9 US Dept of Comm and FTC Workshop on ADR for Consumers in an Online Marketplace [comments due 4/19]
  • U.S. Calls for Global E-Commerce Rules Oct 24, 2000 ecommercetimes
  • Press Releases
  • FDA Agencies Team Up in War Against Internet Health Fraud
  • Documents

  • Delivery Rules
  • A Business Guide to the Federal Trade Commission's, Mail Or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule, Produced in Cooperation with the Direct Marketing Association (January 2002)
  • Presidential Memo: Electronic Commerce (July 1, 1997)
  • Presidential Memo: Electronic Commerce Successes and Further Work (November 30, 1998)
  • Global Issues: Ecommerce USIA Electronic Journal, Vol. 2, No. 4, October 1997
  • ecommerceecommerce


  • Odonnell, An Economic Map of the Internet, TPRC 9/18/02
  • State Regulation of Electronic Commerce, SSRN 1/9/02
  • E-Commerce and the Multilateral Framework, SSRN 1/9/02
  • WITSA:  Digital Planet 2000: The Global Information Economy
  • Jean Camp, Trust & Risk in Internet Commerce, MIT Press, Winter (Cambridge, MA) 2000.
  • Bailey, Joseph P. "Internet Price Discrimination, Self-Regulation, Public Policy and Global Electronic Commerce." TPRC 1998
  • McKnight, Lee W. and Joseph P. Bailey. "Global Internet Economics." Brazilian Electronic Journal of Economics, December 1997.
  • McKnight, Lee W. and Joseph P. Bailey. "Internet Economics: What Happens When Constituencies Collide in Cyberspace?" IEEE Internet Computing, Vol. 1, No. 6, November/December 1997.
  • McKnight, Lee W. and Joseph P. Bailey, Eds. Internet Economics. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1997.
  • Jean Camp, M. Sirbu & J. D. Tygar, "Token and notational money in electronic commerce", Usenix Workshop on Electronic Commerce, July 1995
  • Statistics


    © Cybertelecom ::