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DMA Launches National Litigation Center with Acceptance of Amicus Brief in Case Threatening Entire Online Advertising Ecosytem


Post Date: May 29, 2013
By: Susan Taplinger

DMA Litigation Center Will Fight Frivolous Lawsuits Threatening Data-Driven Marketing in the Courts

Washington, DC, May 29, 2013 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit today accepted an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief filed by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) in Harris v. comScore, Inc., a class action suit pending in federal court.  DMA was joined in filing by a host of other associations – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – who are vitally concerned that this frivolous lawsuit threatens to rewrite the rules of Internet commerce.  

In its brief, DMA asks that the federal appellate court in Chicago overturn the lower court’s order certifying a class to pursue claims that comScore’s industry best-practice disclosures failed to advise users of the extent to which its software would collect and use information about the user’s Web activity.  

“DMA has worked tirelessly for over a decade to establish best practices and industry guidelines for the collection and use of information over the Internet,” said DMA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jerry Cerasale.  “The current Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, Congress, and several other state and federal agencies have recognized DMA’s efforts and resulting guidelines as being precisely the type of industry self-regulation necessary to protect data while promoting clear disclosures and enabling robust online commerce.” 

Self-appointed class-action lawyers put all of that work at risk with lawsuits targeting key industry participants that seek to enjoin the disclosures and practices established by industry guidelines and best practices.  Nor is the comScore decision an isolated incident:  DMA and its members have seen an explosion of privacy-related class action suits brought by uninjured consumers alleging hypothetical cases of liability in recent years.  

DMA believes the comScore certification decision and several other recent privacy class action developments are of urgent concern to the Internet commerce community.  These cases seek to establish infeasible rules for online advertising, and would likely eliminate many of the bedrock advertising practices and technologies DMA and others have worked to establish.  

The acceptance of the amicus brief marks the first action of the newly-formed DMA Litigation Center (DMALC).  “The DMA Litigation Center will serve as the national public policy legal advocacy arm of the DMA, advocating for the fair treatment of business and the protection of data-driven marketing in the courts,” said Linda A. Woolley, DMA CEO and President. 

About Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

The Direct Marketing Association (www.thedma.org) is the world’s largest trade association dedicated to advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing.  Founded in 1917, DMA represents thousands of companies and nonprofit organizations that use and support data-driven marketing practices and techniques. 

In 2012, marketers — commercial and nonprofit — spent $168.5 billion on direct marketing, which accounts for 52.7 percent of all ad expenditures in the United States.  Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated approximately $2.05 trillion in incremental sales.  In 2012, direct marketing accounted for 8.7 percent of total US gross domestic product and produces1.3 million direct marketing employees in the US.  Their collective sales efforts directly support 7.9 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.2 million US jobs. 

DMA’s most current initiative is the Data Driven Marketing Institute (DDMI), which advances and protects data-driven marketing by engaging the entire industry in a coordinated campaign to set the record straight about the countless ways that data-driven marketing benefits consumers and fuels the data-driven economy. 

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