Must-see! EU bans fake hype


"Stupendous!" "Sensational!" The floodgate of outright lies and misquotes that often hype movies in Europe will be stemmed by a law that takes effect in December (HR 8/2).

The European Union, listening to consumer disquiet about the fictional bumper quotes that often accompany so-so movies there, has moved to put a stop to the practice. Under the new law, cinemas and theaters will no longer be able to misquote reviewers on billboards or other advertising.

The legislation specifically bans commercial practices that appreciably impair the consumer's ability to make an informed decision.

The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive will cover promotions that are "likely to deceive the average consumer, even if the information is correct," provided that it is likely to cause him or her to buy a ticket. This includes extracting a positive word or phrase from a review if that paints a misleading picture of the article as a whole. It also will mean that producers must be more careful when using selective quotes in publicity material.

"This is a very far-reaching set of new rules that comes into force in December this year to ensure that consumers can trust the things they are told by businesses," European Commission spokeswoman Helen Kearns said.

The directive aims at harmonizing the underlying principles of consumer protection law across the EU, thus boosting cross-border commerce.