However, to our surprise someone raised a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority!
Even though a tad bad taste, we were a bit surprised by this. But if gets odder.
- The complaint was that it was irresponsible as the readership included children?!
- The complaint was submitted with a photograph of the advert. But what is extra strange is that it was not one taken by the person complaining, but was one taken by one of our customers who posted a link to the picture on an irc channel. That channel has quite small readership, and is almost entirely existing customers as well as people with a sense of humour and a place of definitely adult conversation at times.
The ASA clearly have no clue on handling personal information!
Another thing they have no clue on is copyright law. Obviously we are not lawyers, but they were emailing around, i.e. copying, a photograph of a magazine. The photograph was copyright of the photographer (our customer) who had not given permission for the complainer or the ASA to copy it. The subject of the photograph is a magazine, which is likely at least in part to be copyright of Linux Voice. And finally the advert that is the subject of the picture is our copyright.
Now, the usage in this case may possibly come under the "fair usage" exceptions in the copyright act, I am not sure, but when we pointed out the copyright issues to the ASA their reply was rather bizarre! They said that they were using the photo :-
- Not for commercial purposes
- Not disseminating it any further other than for our reference and ASA council
- That the ad itself was "public domain" anyway
They also had some interesting points on confidentiality - they said the case was confidential. We asked on what legal basis that was the case (half expecting there to be some law on the matter) and they basically had nothing. No contract or agreement with us. No legal requirement. Their only suggestion was that if we published anything then they would not take any further comments from us in defence of the case, and that publishing could prejudice the case?! Anyway, that being their reasoning, there is no reason not to publish their ruling now.
I'd like to thank the guys from Linux Voice as they were helpful in addressing this. We think it is their first ever ASA complaint too.
I include the PDF here journalistically for criticism, comment and review.
2014-12-12 Adjudication (Final)-1.pdf
So, our advert is not filtered either - yay!
Mind you - I do wonder if we should run an advert in "unfiltered", the Scottish Malt Whisky Society magazine. I'll have to ask.