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Overview of Advertising Regulations in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, advertising is governed by a combination of statutory regulations and self-regulatory codes. The primary legal frameworks include: 1) Consumer Protection Laws: Key legislation includes the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), which are central to combating misleading advertisements. These regulations are expected to be revised in the upcoming DMCC Bill with minor adjustments. 2) Intellectual Property Laws: Copyright and trademark laws are significant, especially concerning the use of third-party trademarks in comparative advertising . 3) Sector-Specific Regulations: These affect advertising related to financial services, gambling, tobacco, and alcohol. 4) Self-Regulation: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) plays a crucial role in the self-regulatory landscape. It enforces the CAP Code, which applies to non-broadcast media, and the BCAP Code for broadcast media. The ASA’s remit has expanded to include online spaces like brands' own websites and social media when these platforms are used for marketing communications directly connected to the supply or transfer of goods, services, or fundraising. Additional considerations include specific codes for various sectors like mobile communications, premium-rate services, and alcohol, enforced by bodies like the Phone-paid Services Authority and the Portman Group. Key principles under these regulatory frameworks emphasise that advertising must not be misleading, and advertisers must substantiate any claims at the time of publication or broadcast. Also, the presentation in ads must enable consumers to clearly identify them as such.