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Advertising Rights Digest - Arm yourself with knowledge

Published on 12 May 2011

The Legal Liabilities In Advertising
10 May 2011

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This series of articles has its aim to discuss the legal liabilities in the advertising industry. The idea is to stay away from extreme legal terminology but to make it easy for everybody to understand what the legal implications of management decisions are. The topics what will be covered are:

General liability issues
The legal liabilities of media owner.
The legal liabilities of Advertising agencies.
The legal liabilities of the advertisers.

Each one of these categories warrants a couple of articles and with key words we would link the articles together so that the reader can search the issues.

The first articles is the general issues around liability.

Liability of a company or the personal liability of its members and employees is the scion of many people and is something to be circumspect about. However there are also a lot of false perceptions
and a basic knowledge of certain principles should bring some comfort to most people.

Liability implies wrongdoing. You cannot be liable if you have not done anything wrong. The most serious is criminal wrongdoing. This wrongdoing can, besides criminal prosecution, also create civil liability. Fraud is an example of a wrongdoing that attracts criminal and civil liability. Besides the risk of criminal prosecution and jail sentences for fraud you can also be liable for the damages your fraud caused a person or a company.

Wrongdoing is however not only criminal but also "civil"�. Civil wrongdoing is the breach of a legal duty. Legal duties in turn are created by relationships. Most of these relationships are regulated by contracts - like you employment, your debtors, your creditors etc. Breach of contract is therefore the breach of a legal duty, therefor it creates liability. The liability it creates can be divided into two categories. The one is the liability of the specific performance of the contract. The other liability is damages for the breach of contract. This will be dealt with in more detail in later publications

Not all relationships are contractual. A visitor to your office is not regulated by contract. If however your workplace is unsafe and the visitor gets injured you are liable because you have a legal duty to the public at large not to have unsafe environment. These examples are sometimes complex. In the advertising field there are numerous examples where persons act on behalf of other persons without contracts. These instances create legal duties and therefore also liabilities.

The wrongdoing of an employee is regarded as the wrongdoing of the employer. Of course the wrongdoing will have to be in the scope of the employment before the employer is liable for the wrongdoing of his employees.

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