PR people in the EU: obey the bright-line rule, or suffer legal consequences.

I’d heard of the German ruling, but hadn’t realised it meant that editing with a commercial COI, violating the bright-line rule, could be a legal hazard in the EU, violating the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. In Germany your competitors may be able to sue you for it, and in Britain you could be prosecuted. That’s as well as the media hanging you and your client out to dry.

(The Signpost article claims with no justification that the ruling “complicates” the issue of COI editing, rather than making it much simpler, i.e. damn well listen to us and don’t do it. Some PR people may not like it, but that’s rather a different thing.)

One thought on “PR people in the EU: obey the bright-line rule, or suffer legal consequences.”

  1. Hi Dave. I was just reading your blog. I have noticed in my research on astroturfing that many PR trade magazines have a substantially sympathetic lean towards defending poor PR practices and protecting the reputations of their advertising sponsors (PR agencies), but it’s not necessarily reflective of the views of PR people.

    For a lot of PR professionals that are trying to convince their boss or client not to astroturf Wikipedia, rulings like this equip them with the tools they need to educate decision-makers about Wikipedia ethics.

    I think it would really help if the FTC made some more largely publicized example or published some form of guidance to provide the tools PR people who want to do the right thing need.

    btw – I blogged on the German court ruling too, with largely the same analysis:

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