AFA launches digital legal guide following agency’s Spam Act breach

Just weeks after an agency was forced to pay the communications regulator $22,000 over spam texts, the Advertising Federation of Australia has launched a legal guide for agencies working within digital media.  

The AFA said the guide will aim to raise awareness of potential hazards and assist agencies by providing appropriate advice on legal compliance.

It covers areas including consumer protection laws, spam and privacy laws and digital content regulation. It will also highlight some legal challenges for game, mobile and viral marketing.

Earlier this month, “ideas agency” Tongue was fined $22,000 by the Australian Communications and Media Authority after arranging for spam mobile messages to be sent on behalf of client Coca Cola.

The regulator also issued a formal warning over the breach to Coca Cola South Pacific, while Vodafone Hutchinson Australia paid $110,000. Big Mobile, which provided the software platform to send the texts, also had to pay 25c compensation to each consumer who was spammed.

It followed an investigation by ACMA which found “alleged breaches of the Spam Act 2003 arising from a marketing campaign that promoted certain Coca-Cola products through SMS”.

The new members-only AFA digital legal guide will be released in a beta form, print version, with further editions to be made available as changes to legislation and application occur. A digital release of the guide is also planned for the near future.

The guide was prepared by industry legal practitioner, Stephen von Muenster, Principal of Von Muenster Solicitors & Attorneys.

AFA digital chairman and national board member Mike Zeederberg said: “As marketing communications professionals, we need to ensure we’re getting the right message through the right channels without placing ourselves, or our clients, at risk.

“This guide is designed to help agency staff identify issues before they become problems, and we’d like to think it will become a valuable resource for all AFA members.”


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