The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

June 2000
by Ivan Hoffman, B.A., J.D.

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Ivan HoffmanIvan Hoffman (photo right) is a publishing, copyright, Internet law, recording, and music attorney as well as a published writer and author. He practices in the Los Angeles area. You may reach him at or 818/342-1762.

On April 21, 2000, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“the Act”) went into effect. If you are a Web site operator who has a
site that is directed toward children covered by the Act, or if you are a Web site designer building or a host hosting such a site, you must be familiar with the legal provisions and ramifications of the Act.

To determine whether a Web site is directed to children (defined as being of age 13 years and younger), the Federal Trade Commission (the governmental body in charge of enforcement) looks at several factors as to the site, including:

•  The subject matter;
•  The visual or audio content;
•  The age of models on the site;
•  The language;
•  Whether advertising on the site is directed to children;
•  Information regarding the age of the actual or intended audience; and
•  Whether a site uses animated characters or other child-oriented features.

By these standards, the Act deals with sites that either actively cater to children or who have actual knowledge that children come to the site. Thus, if your site fits into these categories or others and also collects information about children, you are subject to the Act’s provisions and failure to…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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