What Is the Act to Prohibit Predatory Marketing against Minors?Legislators in Maine are trying to stop inappropriate advertising to children by making it illegal to market to children without express permission from their parents. This act went into effect on September 12, 2009.
Because sweepstakes are a form of advertising, this law also applies to sweepstakes sponsors - and the fines for violating this act are hefty, running between $10,000 and $20,000 for the first violation and $20,000 for each additional violation. Can you imagine how expensive it could be if a bunch of children entered a sweepstakes and the sponsor was found to be in violation of Maine's sweepstakes law?
How Does Maine's Sweepstakes Law Differ from Federal Children's Laws?
The Predatory Marketing against Minors Act goes significantly farther than the federal children's protection laws, COPPA, in a few ways:
- COPPA applies to children under 13 years old, while Maine's law applies to everyone under the age of majority, which is 18 in Maine.
- COPPA only applies online, while Maine's privacy act applies to online and offline advertising.
- Maine's privacy act applies whether the sponsor knows the entrant is a child or not, making it even more important to verify age.
- The Predatory Marketing against Minors Act doesn't even allow sponsors to collect some information in order to contact the parents for permission, as some sweepstakes currently do.
What is the Effect of Maine's Predatory Marketing against Minors Act on Sweepstakes?Many kids sweepstakes are prohibiting entry from Maine residents, even when they allow minors from other states to enter.
Is There Any Chance that Maine Will Allow Minors to Enter Sweepstakes in the Future?The first lawsuits have already been brought against the Predatory Marketing against Minors act, and the courts have found that the act "violates the First Amendment."
This gives us hope that kids may be able to enter sweepstakes in Maine once again.
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP: New Maine Privacy Law Restricts Marketing to Minors
Proskauer on Privacy: Maine Makes Marketing Minors "Predatory"
Update: Maine's Marketing to Minors Law Found Likely to Be Unconstitutional
Text of Maine's Act to Prevent Predatory Marketing against Minors
Read these articles for more background about Maine's sweepstakes laws and kids.