Publishers hit for ad errors – you can bank on it

Publishers hit for ad errors – you can bank on itDirector of advertising regulation Lianne Richards

Breaching advertising standards can be a high-profile error – like the major bank that narrowly escaped having to publish a wraparound apology notice for an error in a four-page ad around a major newspaper.

There are also consequences for publishers, who can be held just as liable for advertisers’ oversights, with substantial fines.

Breaching consumer law can see organisations hit with a fine of up to $1.1 million, and up to $220,000 for individuals.

To assist publishers through the regulatory labyrinth, Lianne Richards, director of advertising regulation at The Newspaper Works, will conduct seminars  in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney this month, emphasising the importance of advertising law for publishers’ sales teams.

“It’s not to make them experts on all these things … but it’s to give them some general awareness of the parameters of each area of the law.”

In her seminars, Ms Richards covers Australian consumer law, copyright law and the advertising of therapeutic goods.

Because knowledge of copyright law can be broad but patchy, Ms Richards dispels a few common myths.

“Everyone tells me: ‘We can use it because it’s free, because it’s on the internet. We can use 10 per cent of it’,” she said.

However this is not necessarily the case, and publishers can land themselves in hot water for breaking the law if they do not vet advertisements carefully.

“[Publishers] have been quite fortunate in some ways that we haven’t been held equally as responsible, but I think that’s because we have a genuine care about what we accept.”

“It’s your content, so whatever you publish in your publication is your responsibility.”

“Outside of the penalties, it’s embarrassing,” Ms Richards said.

Feedback on the seminar series has been excellent, and some publishers are looking at integrating the talk into their sales induction programs.

“Between now and the end of March we have 30 presentations.”

To organise a seminar, contact The Newspaper Works.

For more news from The Newspaper Works, click here.

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