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Legal Hotline - Advertising


CAUTION: Because the law is constantly evolving, it is important before relying upon any opinion on this website that you check with the hotline counsel to ascertain whether or not there has been any subsequent change or supplementation to the law since the date of the opinion.

Answers provided by NJPA's Legal Counsel.

May 2, 2006

Question:
I have an advertiser trying to place an ad for Housing to Share. Is he allowed to say, "Gay couple with renovated home, seek full time roommate"? I believe they can say this because it is in their home. Please let me know what the law says.
Answer
I
know you need an answer quickly, so here are excerpts from both the state and federal law on discrimination in housing. It is my understanding that the rental unit at issue is a room in a single family home, and that the owners of the home also live in the house. If that is the case, the answer is that the ad is fine.

In summary, under the New Jersey State Law Against Discrimination, except as to publicly-assisted housing accommodations, the provisions of the act shall not apply to the rental: of a room or rooms to another person or persons by the owner or occupant of a one-family dwelling occupied by the owner or occupant as a residence at the time of such rental.

Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, "domestic partnership status" and "affectional or sexual orientation" are not protected classes as they are under the NJ State Law Against Discrimination and, therefore, are not covered by the prohibitions contained in the federal Fair Housing Act.

STATE LAW
N.J.S.A. 10:5-12  Unlawful employment practices, discrimination.
    11.  It shall be an unlawful employment practice, or, as the case may be, an unlawful discrimination: ...
        g.  For any person, including but not limited to, any owner, lessee, sublessee, assignee or managing agent of, or other person having the right of ownership or possession of or the right to sell, rent, lease, assign, or sublease any real property or part or portion thereof, or any agent or employee of any of these:
            (1)  To refuse to sell, rent, lease, assign, or sublease or otherwise to deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons any real property or part or portion thereof because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership status, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality, or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments;
            (2)  To discriminate against any person or group of persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership status, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental or lease of any real property or part or portion thereof or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith;
            (3)  To print, publish, circulate, issue, display, post or mail, or cause to be printed, published, circulated, issued, displayed, posted or mailed any statement, advertisement, publication or sign, or to use any form of application for the purchase, rental, lease, assignment or sublease of any real property or part or portion thereof, or to make any record or inquiry in connection with the prospective purchase, rental, lease, assignment, or sublease of any real property, or part or portion thereof which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership status, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality, or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments, or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination, and the production of any such statement, advertisement, publicity, sign, form of application, record, or inquiry purporting to be made by any such person shall be presumptive evidence in any action that the same was authorized by such person; provided, however, that nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to bar any person from refusing to sell, rent, lease, assign or sublease or from advertising or recording a qualification as to sex for any room, apartment, flat in a dwelling or residential facility which is planned exclusively for and occupied by individuals of one sex to any individual of the exclusively opposite sex on the basis of sex;
            (4)  To refuse to sell, rent, lease, assign, or sublease or otherwise to deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons any real property or part or portion thereof because of the source of any lawful income received by the person or the source of any lawful rent payment to be paid for the real property; or
            (5)  To refuse to rent or lease any real property to another person because that person's family includes children under 18 years of age, or to make an agreement, rental or lease of any real property which provides that the agreement, rental or lease shall be rendered null and void upon the birth of a child. This paragraph shall not apply to housing for older persons as defined in subsection mm. of section 5 of P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-5).

N.J.S.A. 10:5-5  Definitions relative to discrimination.
        n.  The term "real property" includes real estate, lands, tenements and hereditaments, corporeal and incorporeal, and leaseholds, provided, however, that, except as to publicly assisted housing accommodations, the provisions of this act shall not apply to the rental:
            (1)  of a single apartment or flat in a two-family dwelling, the other occupancy unit of which is occupied by the owner as a residence; or
            (2)  of a room or rooms to another person or persons by the owner or occupant of a one-family dwelling occupied by the owner or occupant as a residence at the time of such rental. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to bar any religious or denominational institution or organization, or any organization operated for charitable or educational purposes, which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, in the sale, lease or rental of real property, from limiting admission to or giving preference to persons of the same religion or denomination or from making such selection as is calculated by such organization to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained. Nor does any provision under this act regarding discrimination on the basis of familial status apply with respect to housing for older persons.

FEDERAL LAW
42 U.S.C. Section 3604
As made applicable by section 3603 of this title and except as exempted by sections 3603(b) and 3607 of this title, it shall be unlawful -
    (a) To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.

April 4, 2006

Question:
Can an advertisement for employment specifically state that only a non-smoker is wanted?
Answer
No.  N.J.S.A. 34:6B-1 provides:  Smoking, use of tobacco products shall not affect employment
1.   No employer shall refuse to hire or employ any person or shall discharge from employment or take any adverse action against any employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or other privileges of employment because that person does or does not smoke or use other tobacco products, unless the employer has a rational basis for doing so which is reasonably related to the employment, including the responsibilities of the employee or prospective employee.

Dec. 14, 2004

Question:
Is a homeowner who places an ad for rental of a single family home required to include the location of the dwelling (the town) or the price?
Answer:
No. The rules for advertising that require the inclusion of the name of the town only apply to licensed real estate brokers.

Aug. 26, 2004

Question:
May an advertiser run several ads for the same product in different newspapers listing different prices in each ad?
Answer:
This practice would probably be a violation of the consumer fraud statutes.

Aug. 2, 2004

Question:
The NJPA list of words to watch in housing ads lists “Section 8” as a “use caution” term. Why is that?
Answer:
If the term is used in an exclusionary fashion, such as “no Section 8,” it would be improper. However, if it is used as inclusionary such as “Section 8 welcome” it is permitted.

April 19, 2004

Question:
A group of business people want to run an advertisement urging citizens to contact their state representative to oppose a Bill to limit building in certain areas. Must this ad carry the “paid by” line?
Answer:
No. Only ads supporting or opposing candidates or public questions (questions on the ballot for voter approval) need the “paid by” line.

April 8, 2004

Question:
When is the “paid for by” designation required in political ads?
Answer:
The “paid for by” must be included in all ads promoting the election of any candidate or promoting the passage or defeat of any public question by or on behalf of any organized political group. An advertisement by an individual not associated with any such group need not include the “paid for by” but must state it is not prepared with the cooperation or consent of the candidate. NJSA 19:44A:22.3.

March 9, 2004

Question:
Must an advertiser who wishes to run an ad to purchase weapons include his license number in the advertisement?
Answer:
No, the law does not require it.

March 3, 2004

Question:
May the newspaper run an ad for a raffle? If so, is there certain information that must be included in the ad?
Answer:
Yes, the newspaper may run the ad but it must contain: the name of the organization, the id number issued by the state, the license number issued by the municipality, the date, time and place of the allotment of the prize(s), an accurate description of the prize(s), the current retail value of the prize(s), the purpose to which the entire net proceeds are to be devoted, and the price of the ticket.

Feb. 19, 2004

Question:
If a newspaper wants to run and article about how the media is covering the anniversary of a historic event, may it run a copy of the cover of another publication with the article?
Answer:
A publication is copyrighted at the moment it is created so the copyright laws would apply. However, there is an exception in the copyright law for “fair use.” Fair use includes use in a news article or commentary. The publication should therefore be protected.

Jan. 8, 2004

Question:
The publication requirement for planning/zoning applications states: “public notice shall be given by publication in the official newspaper of the municipality, if there be one, or in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality.” NJSA 40:55D-12. Does this language create a choice of publications?
Answer:
Only where there is no official newspaper. The words “if there be one” indicate that publication in any other newspaper should be made when there is no official newspaper. Statutes are to be interpreted to give meaning to all the words in the statute. If there was a choice then the words “if there be one” would have no meaning.

Nov. 20, 2003

Question:
While advertisers are not permitted to say “BYOB” in an ad, is it permissible to say in a written review of the restaurant that it has no liquor license?
Answer:
Yes. A review is an editorial description and the prohibition is limited to ads.

Nov. 5, 2003

Question:
Can a night club advertise “specially priced drinks”?
Answer:
Yes. The regulations prohibit the advertising of drinks for a cost less than wholesale but “specially priced” is permissible.

Oct. 16, 2003

Question:
Is there any legal problem with the newspaper reviewing ad placements by local businesses on the Internet and contacting those advertisers to place ads in the newspaper?
Answer:
There is no legal prohibition on contacting businesses you see advertising elsewhere.

Oct. 8, 2003

Question:
May an advertiser say “ideal for students” or does that imply an age restriction?
Answer:
“Ideal for” always raises a red flag and should generally be avoided unless the ad says “ideal for people looking for a few hours a week” or something equally generic. The ad should be phrased to describe the job and not a type of person who might fit the job. “Ideal for students” should be avoided.

July 16, 2003

Question:
Where is a public auction of motor vehicles to be advertised?
Answer:
If the State is selling stolen motor vehicles it recovered, the sale must be published in a newspaper published and circulating in the State. If it is a sale of abandoned motor vehicles by the State or a municipality it must be published in a newspaper published in the state and circulating in the municipality where the vehicle is held. If the sale is by a private garage/repair facility it must be advertised in the municipality where the garage is located.

March 20, 2003

Question:
Do the regulations related to motor vehicle advertising apply to both retail and classified ads?
Answer:
The regulations apply to anyone who is in the regular business of selling motor vehicles and to any person who sells more than three motor vehicles in a calendar year, regardless of the type of ad.

Feb. 28, 2003

Question:
Is an advertiser who is selling a rifle or shotgun through a classified ad required to state in the ad that the purchaser must have a valid state identification card?
Answer:
No. The language is required if the advertiser is selling machine guns, semi-automatic rifles, or assault weapons. NJSA 2C:39-15.

June 23, 2003

Question:
May a newspaper run an ad for the purchase of fireworks in another state?
Answer:
No. NJSA 21:3-2 states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to offer for sale, expose for sale, sell, possess or use...” fireworks. Although it is unclear whether or not the newspapers would be liable under this state, the terms “offer for sale” and “expose for sale” are sufficiently broad to permit a charge against the newspaper.

June 9, 2003

Question:
May an outdoor fundraiser picnic advertise that participants can “BYOB” beer and wine?
Answer:
No. The state strictly prohibits any “BYOB” ads.

June 4, 2003

Question:
The newspaper offers a small discount to advertising agencies who procure ads. If a candidate for office uses an agency to place ads and charges the agency less than it would charge if the candidate directly placed the ad, would the newspaper be providing a “gift” to the candidate using the agency?
Answer:
No, so long as the discounted rate is available to any candidate who uses an agency. In addition the newspaper can not know what rate the candidate is paying the agency, the agency may be charging more than the direct placement rate.

Oct. 24, 2002

Question:
May a municipality place an advertisement urging its citizens to approve/defeat a referendum?
Answer:
Yes. The New Jersey Supreme Court has held that such expenditure by the municipality is permissible. City Affairs Committed of Jersey City v. Board of Commissioners of Jersey City, 132 N.J.L. 552 (1945).

Oct. 11, 2002

Question:
May a newspaper refuse to run an advertisement?
Answer:
Yes, provided the newspaper's policy of refusing ads is not discriminatory against a particular group or minority.

Oct. 10, 2002

Question:
In retail sales installment ads, are disclosures regarding the interest rate required?
Answer:
We find no regulations requiring such disclosures in retail sales advertisements.

Oct. 8, 2002

Question:
Are advertisements protected by the newsperson's privilege?

Answer:
No, the privilege applies only to the gathering of "news."

Oct. 2, 2002

Question:
May a newspaper run an advertisement from a customer seeking a kidney donor?
Answer:
There is no prohibition on such an ad so long as the individual purchasing the ad is not offering to buy the kidney. Reimbursement of expenses incurred is permitted.

June 3, 2002

Question:
A business wants to run an ad that asserts it won a civil suit against a competitor and thank the area residents who supported him throughout the litigation. Is this permissible?
Answer:
Yes. However the newspaper should seek confirmation that any factual assertions in the ad are true.

May 30, 2002

Question:
Are there prohibitions on a merchant advertising free lottery tickets will be given to purchasers?
Answer:
Research reveals no prohibition on the giving away of free lottery tickets or the advertising of the giveaway.

July 5, 2001

Question:
May an employment ad say "non-smokers only?"
Answer:
No. Under NJSA 34:6B-1 it is illegal for an employer to refuse to hire an
individual because he or she smokes.

April 20, 2001

Question: 

May an advertiser say in the ad that it will pay the sales tax?
Answer:
No. NJSA 54:32B-14(d) prohibits any language indicating the sales tax will not be charged or that the tax will be refunded to the consumer in some fashion.

March 14, 2001

Question:

May the newspaper run an advertisement for someone looking to adopt a "white" baby?

Answer:

Nothing in the law prohibits such an advertisement. The Law Against Discrimination regulates employment, housing, and public accommodations only. Research revealed no law of regulation restricting advertisements for adoptions.

March 5, 2001

Question:

May a religious school include in an employment advertisement that applications must be of the members of the religion that operates the school?

Answer:

Yes. The Law Against Discrimination permits religious organizations to "utilize religious affiliation" as a criteria for its employees. NJSA 10:5-12.

February 21, 2001

Question:

May an advertiser state that an employment position is perfect for "mothers or students?"

Answer:

No. The administrative regulations implementing the Law Against

Discrimination specifically states:

The use of language including but not limited to "Black,” "Negro,” \"colored,” "white,” "restricted,” "interracial,” "segregated,” "Christian,” "Jewish,” "men,” "women,” "girl,” "boy,” "gal,” "guy,” "married,” "single" or any other word, term, phrase or expression which tends to influence, persuade or dissuade, encourage or discourage, attract or repel, any person or persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status or sex shall be considered discriminatory advertising in violation of the Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq.

February 6, 2001

Question:

Are Bingo games subject to any advertising regulations?

Answer:

Bingo advertisements are prohibited by statute, NJSA 5:8-36.

January 19, 2001

Question:

May an apartment complex that is not restricted to seniors advertise that a senior center bus stops at the building or that the county senior lunch program bus stops at the complex?

Answer:

While neither of these advertisements directly excludes persons other than seniors from seeking to rent an apartment, the ads do so indirectly and should be avoided. Had the senior bus availability been part of a list of amenities including things available to others, such as a playground nearby, there would be no problem.

October 6, 2000

Question:

May an advertiser run an ad that states "up to x percent off"?

Answer:

No. An advertisement, which indicates a percentage off, must include the minimum percent (for example 20 to 60% off) in the same size type as the maximum percent number. In addition the advertiser must also indicate the basis of the former price. For example "off regular prices." NJAC 13:45A-9.5

September 25, 2000

Question:

Must a model agency include its license number in the advertisement?

Answer:

Yes. The New Jersey Administrative Code, NJAC 13:45B-6.5, requires an "Entertainment Agency" (which includes modeling agents) to include its license number in advertisements.

June 9, 2000

Question:

Is the newspaper obligated to pay a salesperson commission for ads they have sold prior to ending their employment, even if the ads have not yet run or been paid for (commissions are paid only after the newspaper has been paid for the ad)?

Answer:

Assuming the salesperson has done everything necessary to secure the purchase of the ads, and assuming the newspaper and the sales person have no agreement governing payment of commissions after termination of employment, the commissions have been earned and must be paid to the salesperson.

March 23, 2000

Question:

Does the statute requiring publication of the synopsis of the municipal audit reports specify a type size?

Answer:

No. The statute does not state the minimum type size.

March 14, 2000

Question:

Do school boards have to advertise annual election schedules, including filing deadlines for potential candidates and vacancies?

Answer:

Yes. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:14-19, the secretary of each board shall give notice of each election specifying:

  1. The day, time and place thereof,

  2. The offices, if any, to be filled at such election,

  3. The substance of any public question to be submitted to the voters thereat,

  4. Such other information as may be required by law, and,

  5. If more than one polling district is established in the school district, the boundaries of the polling districts or the numbers assigned to them as election districts with which they coincide in the school district and the location of the polling place for each, not less than 10 days prior to the date fixed for the election, by posting at least 7 copies of such notice, one on each schoolhouse in the district and the others at such public places therein as the board shall direct and causing a copy thereof to be published at least once, in at least one newspaper published in each municipality in the district and, if no newspaper is published in any such municipality or such a newspaper will not be published in time to published such notice in accordance with this section, then, as to such municipality, at least one newspaper published in the county or State and circulating in the municipality.

January 26, 2000

Question:

A gentleman wants to run a same sex engagement notice. Does the law require or restrict such notices?

Answer:

It may be a violation of the Law Against Discrimination to refuse the notice. The Law Against Discrimination prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation in public accommodations. The New Jersey Supreme Court has taken a very broad view of what constitutes a public accommodation.

 

Although the newspaper is free to refuse any ad, notice, article etc., if a pattern of refusing items for publication based upon a discriminatory motive can be shown, the newspaper may be open to litigation.

January 10, 2000

Question:

May a vendor advertise a "no sales tax" event where the vendor intends to pay the cost of the sales tax rather than charge it to the customer?

Answer:

No. Under the New Jersey "Sales and Use Tax Act,” specifically NJSA 54:32B-14, it is a violation of the law to advertise that there is no sales tax imposed when the law does so impose a tax.

January 4, 2000

Question:

Is the newspaper liable for misstatements or misrepresentations in advertisements for sale of merchandise under a retail installment plan?

Answer:

No. Federal law specifically states that the medium that disseminates the advertisement cannot be held liable. (15 USC 1665).

October 15, 1999

Question:

Are there regulations on advertisements by dentists?

Answer:

Yes, the regulations are found at NJAC 13:30-8.6 et seq. Generally the regulations state the dentist must include the name, address or telephone number of the dentist or corporation. If the dentist is advertising any discounted price he or she must include the regular price as well. In addition the regulations require the advertisement by done in a "dignified manner" which means that it must be "predominantly informational" and may not include any "extreme portrayal of dentists exhibiting characteristics clearly unrelated to the competence of the dentist".

October 13, 1999

Question:

An ad was received by the paper, which advertised home with income limitations for occupants. Does this advertisement violate any applicable laws against discrimination?

Answer:

The paper was advised that it did not. It was apparent that it is a "Mount Laurel" income restricted unit and, in any event, restricting occupancy based on income levels does not violate any provisions of the Law Against Discrimination.

August 25, 1999

Question:

May a retailer advertise cigarettes "at the lowest price permitted by law"?

Answer:

Yes. The "Unfair Cigarette Sales Act,” NJSA 56-7-18 et seq. prohibits retailers from advertising or selling cigarettes at less than cost and defines how cost is to be calculated. An advertisement that states the retailer will sell at the minimum permitted under the law is acceptable.

August 23, 1999

Question:

May an individual seeking a roommate place an advertisement seeking a person of a particular sex or age?

Answer:

The ad may specify the sex of the applicant. Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, roommate situations are exempt from the prohibitions normally applied to such advertisements, thus the advertiser could specify a sex and age limitation. Under the Federal Law only, the sex of the applicant may be specified; there is no general exemption.

August 17, 1999

Question:

May the newspaper run an employment advertisement with a headline "Attention Housewives"?

Answer:

No. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibits employment advertisements directed to one gender.

July 15, 1999

Question:

A newspaper was proffered an ad from a Florida corporation, through the Florida corporation's advertising agent located in California. The ad is soliciting people to come to the Florida corporation to arrange for a debt consolidation and the ad asks for a $269 fee up front. An 800 number is given to reach the Florida corporation.

 

The person from the newspaper indicated that she had heard from persons at NJPA headquarters that persons dealing in debt consolidation in New Jersey have to be specially licensed. She inquired if that were so.

 

She asked that very same question of the advertiser, through its agent, and was given a copy of some piece of paper -- very hard to read -- of what appears to be a license for one Bonnie Lynn Ranlein to practice law in the State of New Jersey. The agent indicated that this Bonnie Ranlein is the owner of the Florida corporation and by virtue of this license to practice law in New Jersey; the corporation then has a license to do business in New Jersey as a debt consolidator.

Answer:

All businesses wishing to do business in New Jersey must be first licensed and registered with the Dept. of Treasury, Tax Registration Section. McGimpsey & Cafferty gave the newspaper the number of that office so that it could check out specifically whether this Florida corporation is licensed to do business in New Jersey (the Tax

Registration Section # is (609) 292-1730). No special extra license appears to be required of persons involved in the debt consolidation field -- as is required, for example, for doctors, optometrists, accountants, lawyers, persons in the health care business, persons in the selling of alcohol, etc.

 

Having a principal or owner of the Florida corporation licensed as an attorney in New Jersey does not give the corporation a license to do business in New Jersey. That license to do business must first be garnered through the Tax Registration Section. McGimpsey & Cafferty could not find a Bonnie Lynn Ranlein listed as an attorney licensed to practice in New Jersey in the 1999 Law Directory. McGimpsey & Cafferty gave her the number of the Administrative Office of the Courts so that she could check to see if such a person is a licensed attorney (in the event that the license was granted in 1999 after the Law Directory went to print).

 

The newspaper wants to assure itself that this advertiser is legitimate before it decides to run the ad. Accordingly, McGimpsey & Cafferty advised that the paper might try the Better Business Bureau and/or the local prosecutor, or even the Attorney General's office in Trenton to see if they've had any indications that these ads and their advertisers are a flim-flam operation.

June 28, 1999

Question:

May an advertiser use the logo of another business, which has recently ceased operating?

Answer:

Not without the permission of the business that developed the logo. The fact the logo is no longer being actively used by the first business does not strip away the trademark protections.

November 4, 1998

Question:

May an advertisement for a house for sale state that the house is suitable for a "mother-daughter" set up?

Answer:

Yes. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has determined that "mother-daughter" is a term of art in real estate used to describe a particular type of property.

November 2, 1998

Question:

Under statute a restaurant, which does not have a liquor license, may not advertise "BYOB" and a violation of the statute is a disorderly persons offense. If the newspaper runs an ad with the "BYOB" notation can it be prosecuted?

Answer:

Probably not, although the law is unclear. The statute prohibits the owner from advertising inside or outside the premises that patrons may bring and consume their own wine" or beer. NJSA 2A:170-25.21. The law does address the question of whether the entity which causes the ad to be published (the newspaper) can be prosecuted.

August 4, 1998

Question:

A local newspaper reporter advises that the newspaper had received a request to run an advertisement which, among other things, criticized the mayor of a municipality in which the newspaper is run as a "shanty Irishman," further stated that an important state agency has obtained phony appraisals to use in their eminent domain proceedings, an indiscernible attack on a public figure in the entertainment field, etc. The person who wanted to run the ad was a 72-year old resident of a large New Jersey town. The paper simply chose not to run the ad -- feeling that it contained defamatory statements which would probably be untrue and which could subject the paper to costly lawsuits; the paper further felt that many of the comments were in poor taste (even though possibly opinion and not subject to liability for libel). This reporter's question was whether or not he could simply advise the writer of the ad that the paper has chosen not to run his advertisement and whether or not the paper would have to give reasons therefore.

Answer:

The paper does not have to give reasons. Part of the First Amendment rights of the paper is to refuse to publish -- unless it refuses for an illegal discriminatory basis, which is clearly not the case here. However, if the paper chooses to give reasons from a public relations standpoint, it could simply point out that from its review of the advertisement, it appears clear that there are defaming statements of fact which the paper does not have enough information on to evaluate as to their truth/falsity. And, of course, republication by the paper could well subject them to liability (regarding any defamation in the ad which is palpably false, not subject to the public eye doctrine or other exemption). This does not mean that the paper is alleging a lack of credibility on the part of the writer but simply that the paper does not have the investigation necessary for them to pass upon the defaming statements and it chooses not to undergo the expense of investigating them. The paper doesn't have to give reasons if it does not wish to.

July 27, 1998

Question:

An ad is offered for a rental apartment. Among the verbiage in the proffered ad is the quote "perfect for one person." Could this be deemed as discriminatory under the Fair Housing Act?

Answer:

It could very well be. In general, that would be deemed to be discriminating

against some persons interested in the apartment on the basis of marital status. If the ad were changed to describe the number of bedrooms or a description of the footage available - neutral terminology such as that - it probably would meet muster.

 

May 4, 1998

Question:

May a municipality place its legal ads in the local newspaper in addition to its publication in the official legal newspaper?

Answer:

Yes. Nothing in the law prevents multiple advertisements when legal notice is required.

 

May 4, 1998

Question:

May a restaurant advertiser say in an ad that it does not have a liquor license?

Answer:

Nothing in the state regulations, which govern alcohol advertising, N.J.A.C. 13:2-24, would prohibit a restaurant from saying in an ad that it does not have a liquor license or that it does not serve alcoholic beverages.

 

March 24, 1998

Question:

May an ad for employees for a dating service request "attractive" people.

Answer:

Yes. Nothing in the Law Against Discrimination would prohibit use of the term provided the remainder of the ad did not indicate that "attractive" was being used as a code word to discriminate on some other basis.

 

March 23, 1998

Question:

Can an ad be run that promises a free weekend in a five-star hotel in Atlantic City to the first 50 buyers? There are two concerns:

1. Would the promise of a weekend in Atlantic City to the first 50 purchasers of 5 bottles or more constitute gambling? And

2. Would the promise of the weekend, incomplete as to details, be construed, as consumer fraud on the part of the newspaper should the details not meet up to reasonable expectations?

Answer:

As to the first question, it would appear clear that this is missing one essential element of gambling, to wit, there must be consideration paid by the participant. Here there is no consideration paid by the purchaser of the goods being advertised; the price is the same whether it's for one of the first 50 qualifying persons or someone later. This indicates quite clearly that the price being paid covers the purchase of the goods and nothing more. In other words, the winners of the trip to Atlantic City are merely getting a gift; they're not paying for the privilege of having a chance to be in the first 50. That is just the luck of the draw without consideration from the purchaser.

 

As to the second question, NJSA 56:8-2 is instructive. The statute excludes news publishers from liability as to advertisements if they have no knowledge of intent on the part of the advertiser to defraud.

The Hotline is operated by NJPA's General Counsel, Tom Cafferty of Gibbons P.C.  Cafferty has served in this capacity for more than 30 years and has extensive First Amendment and communication law expertise. The Hotline is available to all publications that are active members of the New Jersey Press Association.

To reach the Hotline:

Call (973) 596-4863 The regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but callers may leave a recorded message 24 hours per day on a dedicated voice-mail line. The Hotline attorneys will return all calls as soon as possible.
Fax: (973) 639-6267  
Write: NJPA Legal Hotline, c/o Gibbons P.C., One Gateway Center, Newark, NJ 07102-5310

E-mail: tcafferty@gibbonslaw.com

- Recent Questions - Legal Newspaper Qualifications
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- Advertising - Open Public Meetings Act
- Defamation - Public Notice
- Cameras in the Courtroom - Shield Law
- Invasion of Privacy  


Serving New Jersey newspapers since 1857

New Jersey Press Association (NJPA) is a non-profit membership association formed to advance the interests of newspapers and to increase awareness in the benefits of newspaper readership. The mission of NJPA is to help newspapers remain editorially strong, financially sound and free of outside influence. We will pursue these goals in every way possible, as a service both to our members and to the people of New Jersey.

New Jersey Press Association
810 Bear Tavern Road, Suite 307
West Trenton, NJ 08628-1022
609-406-0600 / fax 609-406-0300