FTC Seeks Comments on Hobby Protection Act Regulations

The FTC announced that it is seeking comments on the rules and regulations it has promulgated under the Hobby Protection Act.  This review is part of its periodic review of all FTC enforced regulations. The FTC is generally seeking comments on, among other things, the economic impact of and the continuing need for the Rules; possible developments in the case law that need to be reflected in the Rules; and the effect on the Rules of any technological, economic, or other industry changes.

The Hobby Protection Act prohibits the sale of imitation numismatic items unless they are plainly and permanently marked with the word “copy.” The Act also bars the manufacture of political items unless they are permanently marked with the calendar year the items were manufactured. The FTC enforces regulations promulgated under the Act which are set forth at 16 CFR Part 304.

As part of its review, the FTC is seeking comments on the following topics:

1.    Is there a continuing need for the Rules as currently promulgated? Why or why not?

2.    What benefits have the Rules provided to consumers? What evidence supports the asserted benefits?

3.    What modifications, if any, should the Commission make to the Rules to increase their benefits to consumers?

  • What evidence supports your proposed modifications?
  • How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for consumers?
  • How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for businesses, particularly small businesses?

4.    What impact have the Rules had on the flow of truthful information to consumers and on the flow of deceptive information to consumers?

5.    What significant costs, if any, have the Rules imposed on consumers? What evidence supports the asserted costs?

6.    What modifications, if any, should be made to the Rules to reduce any costs imposed on consumers?

  • What evidence supports your proposed modifications?
  • How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for consumers?
  • How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for businesses, particularly small businesses?

7.    What benefits, if any, have the Rules provided to businesses, and in particular to small businesses? What evidence supports the asserted benefits?

8.    What modifications, if any, should be made to the Rules to increase their benefits to businesses, and particularly to small businesses?

  • What evidence supports your proposed modifications?
  • How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for consumers?
  • How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for businesses?

9.    What significant costs, if any, including costs of compliance, have the Rules imposed on businesses, particularly small businesses? What evidence supports the asserted costs?

10.    What modifications, if any, should be made to the Rules to reduce the costs imposed on businesses, and particularly on small businesses?

  • What evidence supports your proposed modifications?
  • How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for consumers?
  • How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for businesses?

11.    What evidence is available concerning the degree of industry compliance with the Rules? Does this evidence indicate that the Rules should be modified? If so, why, and how? If not, why not?

12.    Are any of the Rules’ requirements no longer needed? If so, explain. Please provide supporting evidence.

13.    What potentially unfair or deceptive practices concerning imitation political items and imitation numismatic items, if any, are not covered by the Rules?

  • What evidence demonstrates the existence of such practices?
  • With reference to such practices, should the Rules be modified? If so, why, and how? If not, why not?

14.    What modifications, if any, should be made to the Rules to account for changes in relevant technology or economic conditions?

  • What evidence supports the proposed modifications?
  • How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for consumers and businesses, particularly small businesses?

15.    Do the Rules overlap or conflict with other federal, state, or local laws or regulations? If so, how?

  • What evidence supports the asserted conflicts?
  • With reference to the asserted conflicts, should the Rules be modified? If so, why, and how? If not, why not?

16.    Are there foreign or international laws, regulations, or standards with respect to the products or services covered by the Rules that the Commission should consider as it reviews the Rules? If so, what are they?

  • Should the Rules be modified in order to harmonize with these foreign or international laws, regulations, or standards? If so, why, and how? If not, why not?
  • How would such harmonization affect the costs and benefits of the Rules for consumers and businesses, particularly small businesses?

Interested persons and businesses have the opportunity to submit comments on these issues to be considered by the FTC in evaluating the any changes to or maintenance of the Rules. Comments are due on September 22, 2014.

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