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Influencers, advertising and the state media services

This post is also available in: Deutsch

I have already reported often enough about influencers and streamers and the currently very hotly disputed obligation to mark advertising and similar posts. Here, there is essentially a threat of warnings from competitors or from the warning associations.

What is underestimated, however, is that the state media authorities are also becoming increasingly active in clamping down on streamers to ensure that they play by fair rules. However, this is definitely also about more obvious advertising. However, this is also subject to numerous rules of the game. You can find some information about it here. One of the most important principles here is the separation of advertising and editorial content. But there are also numerous other topics relating to the complex of editorial independence, surreptitious advertising, the nature and manner of advertising, the integration of advertising and/or product placements, and much more.

Everyone should read the pages of the state media authorities carefully and, above all, check whether their own YouTube or Twitch channel and thus their own activities comply with the advertising guidelines. For example, testing products worth more than €1,000 or attending product presentations (if the manufacturer pays for airfare and hotel, etc.) worth more than €1,000 may indicate a violation of Independence and thus constitute a violation of the Advertising Guidelines. Such product placements must also be distinguished from the ban on surreptitious advertising, which is or has been part of various court cases concerning influencers.

As tempting as the earning opportunities around YouTube, Twitch or Instagram have become, the rules of the game will continue to tighten and authorities and competitors will certainly become more active this year; fueled by encouraging signals from case law and, as I have heard, a significantly increased number of reports or complaints from users to check certain influencers after all.

Therefore, I can only advise again and again to either deal with the issues and demarcation problems yourself or to ask an experienced legal colleague for help. While only costs for opposing lawyers are threatened in the case of warnings by competitors, the state media authorities can proceed with fines. In the case of particularly aggressive behavior, there have already been quite high fines in the past. The fines can go up to 500,000 euros, purely theoretically. Even if this is hardly conceivable at the moment, I can only really say that the broadcasters are becoming more and more active and are currently probably only not tackling the sometimes large proliferation in the influencer sector due to a lack of staff. The topic of advertising law is becoming increasingly relevant in the influencer sector.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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