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You often find articles written for a U.S. audience when searching for advice on marketing law online. There is a ton of information out there on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the federal nonpartisan agency of the U.S. government. The FTC writes policy and polices industries. It has the authority to investigate and bring civil charges against offenders, suggests legislation, and has created a list of rules industries are expected to abide by. The FTC works with law agencies to ensure that customer protection and fair trade laws are adhered to. The FTC also works with its foreign equivalents to promote these ideas.
International marketing law is a mix of domestic legislation, treaties, laws, and organizations. There is no generally agreed-upon and enforceable international law when it comes to marketing and sales. Various international agencies aim to promote fair and just practice. ASA is the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK. The ICC is the International Chamber of Commerce of Denmark. There are numerous such examples, similar to the FTC. Outside national boundaries, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization established in 1995 to promote international trade regulation.
Various treaties, laws, and guidelines cover international marketing law. The EU-issued Directive on Misleading and Comparative Advertising creates some regulation in this area for EU member countries. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights offers consumer protection. The UN convention on contracts for the sale of goods (CISG), is the most widespread international uniform trade law, and has been ratified by several countries. The DMCA, or digital millennium copyright act, a US law that protects original online content, and the Copyright Directive (2001) of the EU, together regulate the use of copyrighted material within the respective areas.
Depending on the organization, law, or treaty, the abovementioned deal with such issues as: false advertising, health and environmental claims, ads directed at children, acceptable standards for products, the right of redress, data protection, safety standards, and unfair commercial practices, amongst many other issues.
These various organizations, laws, or treaties generally aim for a harmonized common market, with a free movement of goods and services unobstructed by the different countries’ laws and policies. Despite the many laws, guidelines, etc., it is typically best for your business to have a foreign representative to interpret the local law. Normally, local law supersedes international law, and companies must work within a particular country’s legal framework. Companies must respect the laws of both the country of origin and the international market.
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