American Society of Magazine Editors

MPA Washington Newsletter - May 3, 2013

May 3, 2013


MPA Washington Day 2013
With thoughts and concerns for those in Boston, more than 50 members of the MPA, ASME and IMAG boards, along with members of the Government Affairs Committee, gathered in Washington DC on April 15 and 16 for MPA’s annual Washington Day.  The meeting kicked off on Monday evening with a dinner for the MPA and ASME boards at the historic Jefferson Hotel.  Invited dinner guest Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, was scheduled to appear, but had to cancel due to events of the day.  MPA’s top-notch outside lobbyists, Democrat Steve Elmendorf and Republican Kirk Blalock, quickly stepped in to give an engaging talk on today’s front-burner topics in Washington, which include fiscal issues, immigration, gun control and gay marriage. Thank you to MPA associate member Quad/Graphics for sponsoring this special evening. 
Tuesday’s meeting, held at the American Chemistry Council’s conference facility on Capitol Hill, featured an impressive lineup of Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders as well as the Postmaster General (PMG). All of MPA’s core issues were covered, from postal reform to intellectual property to the thorny fiscal issues surrounding the budget deficit, debt ceiling and tax reform.  Following the last-minute cancellation of Marsha Blackburn, Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who led the US Congressional delegation to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, MPA’s Washington team quickly added several additional speakers,  leading to a jam-packed, informative and productive day... See Photos and Read More
Postal Service Plans for August Move to Five-Day Delivery Quashed for Now; 
Postal Reform Gets New Look in 2013
Two months after the Postal Service’s surprise announcement on February 6 that non-package mail would only be delivered five days a week starting on August 5, the Governors of the Postal Service on April 10 announced an indefinite delay of five-day delivery.  Concluding that Congress had prohibited implementation of a new national delivery schedule by including restrictive language in the recently passed Continuing Appropriations Resolution, the Governors stated they would not implement five-day delivery until explicitly authorized by Congress.  In light of the worsening financial condition of the Postal Service, the Governors directed management to seek to reopen contract negotiations with the postal employee groups to lower costs and to evaluate the option of an exigent postal rate increase to boost revenue...Read More
Copyright Hearing Rallies House of Representatives Call for Updates to U.S. Copyright Law
After nearly two years of quiet on the copyright front, following the major battle over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Congress is once again starting to talk about copyright and its evolution in the digital age.  On March 20, the Register of Copyrights testified before a House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee about the need for “bold adjustments” to copyright law.  This was followed by an announcement of likely full committee action in the coming months...Read More
Call for Nationwide Internet Sales Tax Picks Up Speed in Congress
Following an overwhelming show of support in a non-binding vote during the 2014 budget resolution process in March, in a surprise development, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in April moved to take up the Marketplace Fairness Act. The Act is a bill that aims to refill depleted state coffers by removing the prohibition put in place by the Supreme Court's Quill decision on the collection of sales tax by retailers who do not have nexus in the state where the buyer is located...Read More
States Look to Magazine Media and Advertising Industries for Tax Revenue
Short on revenue in a still-struggling economy, several states are looking to fill budget gaps by expanding their tax base.  Given the possibility of Federal action removing “nexus” protection, keeping magazine subscription sales untaxed is more important than ever.  While around half of the states currently tax subscription sales, the largest states, in terms of population, do not...Read More
Several States Active on Magazine Media Subscription and Negative Option Bills
Following a flurry of early session activity, state legislators continue to be interested in regulating automatic renewals and free trials. In addition to bills dealing with automatic renewals, a bill has been introduced in New York specifically targeting magazine subscriptions and requiring that consumers be provided telephone contact information...Read More
Federal Trade Commission Issues Two Consumer Protection Reports Focused on Disclosures in the Digital Space
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continues to be active on consumer protection matters in 2013, issuing two reports early in the year focused on providing consumers with privacy and other disclosures in the digital space.  Both reports Mobile Privacy Disclosures and .COM Disclosures  deal with the FTC’s current interest and concerns regarding mobile devices and social media...Read More
Quick Hits
California Lawmakers Consider Privacy: The California legislature is considering several bills focused on privacy, including one that would limit companies to just 100 words to explain their data collection practices.  Another would require website operators to disclose whether or not they were complying with “Do Not Track” signals, and a third would put into place many of the provisions the California Attorney General outlined in the “Privacy on the Go” report…FTC Report on Online Alcohol to be Released this Summer: Following letters the FTC sent to 14 large manufacturers of beer, wine, and spirits last summer inquiring about their advertising practices, the FTC will release a report of its findings, with an emphasis on social media.  Industry self-regulatory guidelines require that a magazine containing alcohol advertisements have an audience that consists of at least 70% adults age 21 and over…Rockefeller Reintroduces “Do Not Track Online Act”: As he did in the previous session of Congress, Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced a “Do Not Track” bill.  The bill would require the FTC to establish standardized mechanisms for people to use their Internet browsers to tell websites, advertising networks, data brokers and other online entities whether or not they were willing to submit to tracking.  The bill would also require the F.T.C. to develop rules to prohibit online services from amassing personal details about users who had opted out of such tracking.  Senator Rockefeller expressed his displeasure with current industry practices in a hearing on April 24…Wheeler to Chair FCC:  President Obama announced his intention to nominate Tom Wheeler to be the next Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, succeeding Julius Genachowski.  Wheeler, 66, is a well-known figure in the telecommunications and high-tech industries, and a longtime Democratic activist.
Join the MPA Political Action Committee
Organized pursuant to federal election law, the Magazine Publishers of America Political Action Committee ("MPA-PAC") has been incorporated since the 1970s. Participation in the MPA-PAC is strictly voluntary and subject to rules prescribed by the Federal Election Commission. MPA-PAC funds are used to make contributions to candidates for Federal office. The Board of the MPA-PAC decides what federal candidates merit consideration for contributions. For more information about the MPA-PAC and its program for 2013, please visit the MPA-PAC website or contact the Treasurer of MPA-PAC, Jim Cregan, at 202-296-7277 or


Mark your calendars for upcoming events: 2013 MPA-IMAG Independent Magazine Conference (May 20-22 | New Orleans); Retail Marketplace 2013 (June 10-12 | Philadelphia); AMC 2013 (October 22-23 | New York City) and Tech 2013 (December 10 | New York City).