Post-Soviet Media Law & Policy Newsletter


Issue 23     Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law     November 27, 1995

Text of Russian Federation Advertising Law

    The following is an edited text of the law adopted by the State Duma on June 14, 1995, Federal Act No. 108–FZ.

Chapter I     General

Article 1.     Objectives and Sphere of Application of the Present Federal Act

    1. The present Federal Act shall regulate relations arising in the process of production, allocation and circulation of advertising on the markets of goods, works and services (hereinaf ter “goods”) of the RF, including the markets of banking, insurance and other services involving the use of the money resources of citizens (natural persons) and legal persons, and also on the markets of securities.
    The objectives of the present Federal Act shall be protection from unfair competition in the sphere of advertising, prevention and curtailment of improper advertising capable of mis leading consumers of advertising or inflicting harm on the health of citizens, on the property of citizens or legal persons, on the environment, or damaging the honor, dignity and business reputation of the aforesaid persons, and also advertising infringing on public interests, on the principles of humanism and morality.

   2. The present Federal Act shall also be applied where acts performed outside the RF by RF legal persons or citizens in the sphere of advertising result in restraint of competition, mis lead legal or natural persons in RF territory or entail other negative consequences on the goods markets of the RF.

    4. The present Federal Act shall not apply to political advertising.

    5. The present Federal Act shall not apply to advertisements by natural persons, includ ing advertisements in the mass media, which are not connected with the conduct of entrepreneurial activity.

Article 2.     Basic Concepts

    improper advertising—unfair, unreliable, unethical, deliberately false and other adver tising which allows breaches of requirements on its content, time, place and way of circulation, as established by RF legislation; . . . .
    counter-advertising—refutation of improper advertising circulated with the object of eliminating its consequences; . . . .

Chapter II     General and Special Requirements on Advertising

Article 5.     General Requirements on Advertising

    1. Advertising must be readily cognizable, without, that is, special knowledge or without the applica tion of technical devices precisely directly as advertising at the time of its presentation, irrespective of the form or of the medium of circulation used.
    Use in radio, television, video, audio and cinema products, and also in printed matter of a non- advertising nature of deliberate efforts to draw the attention of consumers of advertising to a concrete make (model, item) of goods or to the maker, performer or vendor in order to cre ate and maintain an interest therein, without due announcement thereof in advance (notably, by means of express designation of advertising) shall not be allowed.
    Where radio, television, video, audio and cinema products, and also printed matter are circulated in parts (installments), the identification of advertising must also be repeated in accordance with the number of the parts (installments).
    Mass media organizations shall be prohibited from charging payment for the insertion of advertising in the guise of information, editorial or author’s material.

   2. Advertising in RF territory shall be circulated in the Russian language and, at the dis cretion of the advertisers, additionally in the state languages of the republics and native languages of the peoples of the RF. This provision shall not apply to radio broadcasting, televi sion broadcasting or printed media rendered exclusively in the state languages of the republics, the native languages of RF peoples, and foreign languages, and also to registered trademarks (service marks).

    6. Advertising must not be an inducement to action in breach of environmental legislation.

Article 6.     Unfair Advertising

    Advertising shall be deemed unfair which:
    — discredits legal and natural persons for not making use of the advertised goods;
    — contains incorrect comparisons of the advertised goods with goods of other legal or natural persons, and also contains statements or images denigrating the honor, dignity or busi ness reputation of a competitor;
    — misleads consumers with respect to the advertised goods by means of imitation (copying) or the general project, text, advertising formulas, images, musical or sound effects used in the advertising of other goods, or by means of abuse of the confidence of natural persons or their lack of experience or knowledge, including that bearing on the absence in the advertising of a part of the essential information.
    Unfair advertising shall not be allowed.

Article 7.     Misleading Advertising

    Misleading advertising shall be deemed that which contains information not in accord with the actual facts with respect to:     Misleading information shall not be allowed.

Article 8.     Unethical Advertising

    1. Unethical advertising shall be deemed that which:     Unethical advertising shall not be allowed.

    2. Any natural or legal person who becomes aware of the production or circulation of adver tising containing information denigrating his honor, dignity or business reputation shall be entitled to apply for protection of violated rights, respectively, to court of law or court of arbi tration, in the manner specified by RF legislation, and shall also be entitled to demand of the advertiser a refutation of such advertising in the same manner in which it was circulated, where the advertiser fails to do so voluntarily.

Article 9.     Deliberately False Advertising

    Deliberately false advertising shall be deemed that by means of which the advertiser (producer of advertising, advertising agent) deliberately misleads consumers of advertising.
    Deliberately false advertising shall not be allowed.

Article 10.     Subliminal Advertising

    Use in radio, television, video, audio and cinema products, and also in other products and circulation in other ways of subliminal advertising, that is, advertising with an effect on the consumer’s perception of which he is unconscious, including the use of special video insertions (dual sound recordings) and in other ways, shall not be allowed.

Article 11.     Specifics of Advertising in Radio and TV Programs

    1. In radio and television programs, interruptions by advertising shall not be allowed in:     2. Where advertising is used in the form of superposition, including the “running line” method, its size should not exceed seven percent of the sequence area.

    3. Advertising of one and the same product, and equally circulation of advertising about the advertiser itself may not be done more than twice with a total duration of not more than two minutes during one hour of air time of radio or television program on one broadcast frequency.

   4. In radio and television programs not registered as specializing in reports and mate rials of an advertising nature, advertising must not exceed 25 percent of the volume of broadcasting during 24 hours.

Article 12.     Specifics of Advertising in Printed Periodicals

    In printed periodicals not specializing in advertising reports and materials, advertising must not exceed 40 percent of the volume of one issue of a printed periodical.

Article 13.     Specifics of Advertising in Cinema and Video Services and in Reference Services

    1. Interruption by advertising of the showing of a film, with the exception of interruption between parts, in cinema and video services shall not be allowed.

    2. In reference telephone services, advertising may be presented only after communica tion of the information (reference) requested by the subscriber.

    3. In fee- paying reference telephone, computer and other services, advertising may be presented only with the consent of the subscriber. The cost of such advertising must not be included in the cost of the references requested by the subscriber.

Article 15.     Specifics of Advertising on Transport Vehicles and Postal Mailings

    1. Circulation of advertising on transport vehicles shall be effected under contract with the owners of the transport vehicles or with the persons possessing real rights to the transport vehicles, unless law or contract provides otherwise with respect to the persons possessing real rights to this property.
    Cases of restriction or prohibition of circulation of advertising on transport vehicles with the object of ensuring the safety of traffic shall be determined by authorized agencies vested with control of the safety of traffic.

    2. Circulation of advertising on postal mailings shall be effected only with the permis sion of the Federal organ of executive power having matters of postal communication within its competence. The rules for the issue of permits and the amount of charges therefor shall be determined by the aforesaid organ. In the event, the charge shall not exceed the costs of issue of permits for the circulation of advertising. The charge shall be paid into the Federal budget to the full extent.

Article 16.     Specifics of Advertising of Certain Types of Goods

    1. The advertising of alcoholic drinks, tobacco and tobacco products circulated in any way whatsoever must not:      Circulation of advertising of tobacco and tobacco products must in all cases be accom panied by a warning on the harm of smoking, so that in radio and television programs this warning is given at least three seconds of air time, and in the circulation of advertising in other ways—at least 5 percent of the advertising area (space).

    2. Advertising of medicines, medical- purpose items or medical hardware in the absence of a permit for the manufacture and/or sale thereof, and also advertising of methods of treat ment, prophylactics, diagnostics or rehabilitation in the absence of a permit for the rendering of such services issued by the Federal organ of executive power in the field of public health shall not be allowed, notably where patents for inventions in the aforesaid field are received.
    Advertising of medicinal preparations issued on doctor’s prescription, and also advertis ing of medical- purpose items and medical hardware whose use requires special training shall be allowed with due account of the requirements specified in paragraph one of the present Clause, only in printed editions intended for medical and pharmaceutical workers.

   3. Advertising of all types of weapons, armaments and military hardware shall not be allowed, with the exception of the advertising of combat and service weapons, armaments and military hardware entered on the schedule of military- purpose products whose export from and import into the RF is effected under license, and also of permitted civilian weapons, including hunting and sports weapons.
    No advertising shall be allowed of permitted civilian weapons, armaments and military hardware entered on the schedule of military- purpose products whose export from and import into the RF is effected under license, where the aforesaid advertising discloses, directly or indi rectly, the technology of production, ways of combat and special use of the weapons, armaments and military hardware.
    Circulation of advertising of permitted civilian weapons, including hunting and sports weapons, shall be allowed only in printed periodicals specializing in the circulation of advertis ing, and also in other printed periodicals intended for users of permitted civilian weapons, and in places of application of hunting and sports weapons.
    Circulation of advertising of permitted civilian weapons in the electronic mass media shall be allowed only after 22.00 hours local time.
    Advertising of combat and service weapons, and also of armaments and military hard ware entered on the schedule of military- purpose products whose export from and import into the RF is effected under license shall be allowed only in the publications specified in the RF Weapons Act, and also at specialized expositions or at fairs and sales held in the manner estab lished by the RF Government.

Article 17.     Specifics of Advertising of Financial, Insurance and Investment Services and Securities

    In the production, allocation and circulation of advertising of financial (including bank ing), insurance and investment services and other services involving the use of monetary funds of legal and natural persons, and also securities, the following shall not be allowed: Article 18.     Public service advertising

    1. Public service advertising shall represent social and state interests and shall be aimed at attaining charitable objectives.
    Public service advertising must make no mention of commercial organizations or individual entrepreneurs, or of any concrete brands (models, items), or of the brands (models, items) of goods which are the result of entrepreneurial activity of noncommercial organizations.

    2. Profit- free activity of legal and natural persons in the production and circulation of public service advertising, transfer of one’s property, including monies, to other legal and natural per sons for the production and circulation of public service advertising shall be deemed charitable activity and shall enjoy the benefits held out by legislation.

    3. Advertising agents which are mass media organizations shall have the duty to allocate public service advertising made available by advertisers, within the limits of five percent of the annual air time (basic printed area) used within the limits established for advertising by RF legislation on advertising.
    Advertising agents which are not mass media organizations shall have the duty to allocate public service advertising within the limits of five percent of the annual value of the services entered by them in the circulation of advertising.
    Producers of advertising shall have the duty to render services in the production of public service advertising within the limits of five percent of their annual advertising output.
    The conditions pertaining to the time of allocation and medium of circulation of public service advertising proposed by advertisers shall be mandatory for advertising agents, where the adver tiser applies to the advertising agent not later than one month prior to the expected date of circulation of the public service advertising.
    Payment for the production, allocation and circulation of public service advertising shall be made under contract.
    Where the volume of orders for the production, allocation and circulation of public service advertising is greater than the limits established for such advertising in air time, basic printed space, volume of production, allocation and circulation, and in the event of disputes, priority in the production, allocation and circulation of public service advertising shall be determined in the sequence in which advertisers’ offers are received by the producer of advertising and by the advertising agent.

    4. Any acts of the producers of advertising and advertising agents impeding the produc tion, allocation and circulation of public service advertising within the limits established in Clause 3 of the present Article shall not be allowed. Where such acts are committed, these shall be subject to appeal in court of law, in the established manner.

Article 19.     Sponsorship

    Sponsorship, for the purposes of the present Federal Act, shall be taken to mean the making of a contribution by a legal or natural person (sponsor) (in the form of provision of properties, results of intellectual activity, rendering of services or performance of works) to the activity of another legal or natural person (sponsored person) on the condition of circulation by the sponsored person of advertising about the sponsor and his goods.
    Sponsor contribution shall be taken to mean payment for advertising, with the sponsor and the sponsored person, respectively, acting as advertiser and advertising agent.
    The sponsor shall not be entitled to interfere in the activity of the sponsored person.

Article 20.     Protection of Minors in Production, Allocation and Circulation of Advertising

    1. In the production, allocation and circulation of advertising, with the object of protec tion of minors against abuse of their credulity and lack of experience, the following shall not be allowed:      2. Textual, visual or audio use of images of minors in advertising not directly relevant to goods for minors shall not be allowed.

Chapter III     Rights and Duties of Advertisers, Producers of Advertising and Advertising Agents, Storage Periods for Materials Containing Advertising

Article 23.     Duty of Producers of Advertising to Inform Advertisers of Any Circumstances Which May Result in Breach of RF Legislation on Advertising

    The producer of advertising shall have the duty to inform the advertiser, in good time, that compliance with the latter’s requirements in the production of advertising may result in a breach of RF legislation on advertising.
    Where the advertiser, despite the timely and valid warning on the part of the producer of advertising, fails to alter his requirement (requirements) on the advertising or fails, on the demand of the producer of advertising, to provide documentary confirmation of the authenticity of the information submitted for the production of advertising, or fails to remove other circum stances which could make the advertising improper, the producer of advertising shall be entitled, in the established manner, to rescind the contract and to demand full compensation of losses, unless the contract provides otherwise.

Article 24.     Provision of Information to the Organs of Executive Power

    Advertisers, producers of advertising and advertising agents shall have the duty, on the demand of Federal organs of executive power (their territorial agencies) vested with control of compliance with RF legislation on advertising, to provide, within the established period, docu ments, explanations in oral or written form, video or audio recordings, and also other information required for the exercise of the powers specified in the present Federal Act.

Chapter IV     State Control and Self- Regulation in Advertising

Article 26.     Powers of the Federal Antimonopoly Agency in State Control of Advertising

    1. The Federal antimonopoly agency (its territorial agencies) shall exercise, within the limits of its competence, state control of compliance with RF legislation on advertising. This agency (its territorial agencies) shall:     2. The Federal antimonopoly agency (its territorial agencies) shall be entitled to bring action in court of law or court of arbitration, including action in the interests of an unspecified circle of consumers of advertising, in view of breach by advertisers, producers of advertising and advertising agents of RF legislation on advertising, and for declaration as invalid of trans actions connected with improper advertising.

    3. In bringing in an action in court of law or court of arbitration, the Federal antimo nopoly agency and its territorial agencies shall be exempted from the payment of state duty.

    4. Federal organs of executive power authorized under RF legislation to exercise, within the limits of their competence, functions in the protection of the rights of consumers and in cut ting short unfair competition, shall be entitled to conclude with advertisers, producers of advertising and advertising agents agreements on compliance by the latter with the rules and customs of advertising practice.

Article 27.     Right of Access to Information

    1. Employees of the Federal antimonopoly agency (its territorial agencies) shall have the right, with the object of exercising the functions vested in this agency in the control of compli ance with RF legislation on advertising, of unimpeded access to all the requisite documents and other materials of advertisers, producers of advertising and advertising agents.

    2. Information constituting a commercial secret and obtained by persons specified in Clause 1 of the present Article shall not be subject to disclosure.
    In the event of disclosure of information constituting a commercial secret, the losses caused thereby shall be subject to compensation by the Federal antimonopoly agency (its terri torial agencies), in the manner established by legislation.

    3. The persons specified in Clause 1 of the present Article shall be allowed to enter organizations carrying on activity connected with the use of information constituting state secret, in the manner established by RF legislation.

Article 28.     Rights of Agencies of Self- Regulation in Advertising

    1. Public organizations, associations and unions of legal persons acting as agencies of self- regulation in advertising shall:     2. The agencies of self- regulation in advertising shall be entitled to bring action in court of law or court of arbitration, in the established manner, in the interests of consumers of adver tising, including the interests of an unspecified circle of consumers of advertising, in the event of breach of their rights, as specified by RF legislation on advertising.
    Where action brought on the part of an unspecified circle of consumers of advertising is satisfied, court of law or court of arbitration shall put on the offender the duty to bring the deci sion of the court of law or court of arbitration to the knowledge of the aforesaid consumers through the mass mediator in other ways, within the period established by the court.

Chapter V     Corrective advertising and Liability for Improper Advertising

Article 29.     Corrective advertising

    1. Where a breach of RF legislation on advertising is established as a fact, the offender shall have the duty to effect corrective advertising, within the period established by the Federal antimonopoly agency or its territorial agency which ordered the corrective advertising. In the event, the offender shall be liable for the expenditures in corrective advertising to the full extent.

    2. Where the offender has failed to effect corrective advertising within the established period, the Federal antimonopoly agency or its territorial agency which ordered the counter- advertising shall be entitled to take a decision on full or partial suspension of the offender’s advertising, until the day on which the circulation of the corrective advertising is com pleted.
    In the event, the agency which took the decision on the full or partial suspension of the offender’s advertising shall have the duty to serve notice, without delay, on all the parties to contracts with the offender for the production, allocation and circulation of his advertising.

    3. Corrective advertising shall be effected by means of the same medium of circulation, with the use of the selfsame characteristics of duration, space, place and priority as in the improper advertising being refuted. The content of corrective advertising shall be agreed with the Federal antimonopoly agency or its territorial agency which established the breach as a fact and which took the respective decision on the correction thereof.
    In certain cases, by decision of the Federal antimonopoly agency or its territorial agency which took the decision on effecting corrective advertising, substitution of the medium of circula tion, characteristics, duration, space, place and priority in effecting the corrective advertising shall be allowed.

Article 30. Liability of Advertiser, Producer of Advertising and Advertising Agent

    The advertiser shall bear liability for breach of RF legislation on advertising in the part containing the information supplied for the creation of advertising, unless it is proved that the aforesaid breach occurred through the fault of the producer of advertising or the advertising agent.
    The producer of advertising shall bear liability for breach of RF legislation on advertis ing in the part of the design, production and preparation of advertising.
    The advertising agent shall bear liability for breach of RF legislation on advertising in the part pertaining to the time, place and medium of allocation of advertising.

Article 31.     Liability for Breach of RF Legislation on Advertising

    1. Legal persons or citizens (advertisers, producers of advertising and advertising agents) shall bear, for breach of RF legislation on advertising, civil- law liability, in conformity with RF legislation.
    The persons whose rights and interests are violated as a result of improper advertising shall be entitled to bring action, in the established manner, in court of law of court of arbitration, including action for compensation of losses, and also benefits forgone, compensation of harm caused to health and property, compensation of moral damage, and for refutation of improper advertising.
    Plaintiffs in action for compensation of damage caused by improper advertising to health, property, honor, dignity and business reputation shall be exempted from the payment of state duty.

    2. Improper advertising, or rejection of corrective advertising, or non- submission, within the established period, of information on the demand of the Federal antimonopoly agency (its territorial agency) shall entail administrative liability in the form of a warning or a fine in the amount of up to 200 times the statutory minimum monthly wage, as established by Federal law.
    Improper advertising performed repeatedly during one year after the imposition of administrative penalty for the selfsame actions shall entail criminal liability, in conformity with RF legislation.
    Deliberately false advertising performed with the object of obtaining profit (gain) and causing essential damage to state or public interests or to the legitimate rights and interests of citizens shall entail criminal liability, inconformity with RF legislation.

    3. The Federal antimonopoly agency (its territorial agencies) shall be entitled to impose fines on advertisers, producers of advertising and advertising agents for nonfulfillment, in due time, of directives to end breaches of RF legislation on advertising and decisions on effecting corrective advertising, in the amount of up to 5,000 times the statutory minimum monthly wage, as established by Federal law.
    The sum of fine paid by the advertiser, producer of advertising or advertising agent, in conformity with the present Federal Act, shall be entered into the respective budgets, in the fol lowing proportion:
    40 percent—into the Federal budget;
    60 percent—into the budget of the RF subject in whose territory the legal person or individual entrepreneur acting as advertiser, producer of advertising or advertising agent is reg istered.
    Collection of fine shall be made in court proceedings, unless payment of a fine is made voluntarily.
    Payment of fine shall not relieve the advertiser, producer of advertising or advertising agent from fulfillment of the directive on ending the breach of RF legislation on advertising or from fulfillment of the decision on effecting corrective advertising.

    4. The advertiser, producer of advertising or advertising agent shall be entitled to appeal to court of law or court of arbitration with an application to declare invalid, fully or in part, the directives or decisions of the Federal antimonopoly agency (its territorial agency), in conformity with RF legislation.
    The filing of the aforesaid application shall not suspend fulfillment of the directive or decision of the Federal antimonopoly agency (its territorial agency), unless court of law or court of arbitration issues a ruling to suspend fulfillment of the aforesaid acts.

Chapter VI     Final Provisions

Article 32.     International Treaties of the RF in Advertising

    Where an international treaty of the RF lays down rules on advertising other than those provided for by the present Federal Act, the rules of the international treaty shall apply.

Article 33.     On Enactment of the Present Federal Act

    1. The present Federal Act shall take effect from the day of its official promulgation.
    2. The effect of Clause 1 of Article 16 of the present Federal Act with respect to adver tising of alcoholic drinks, tobacco and tobacco products in TV programs shall be abolished from January 1, 1996, and advertising of these goods in TV programs shall not be allowed from that point in time on.
    3. The RF President shall be invited to bring into conformity with the present Federal Act the normative legal enactments issued by him.
    4. The RF Government shall be authorized:

Guarantees of Citizens’ Right to Protection
of Health in the Spread of Advertising

RF President’s Edict No. 161
February 17, 1995

    Regarding the constitutional guarantees of protection of the health of the RF population as the basis for ensuring active longevity for each person, pending adoption of a Federal act on advertising, I hereby decree:

    1. Advertising in the mass media of the following shall not be allowed:
    — alcoholic drinks and tobacco products contrary to the interests of protection of the health of citizens and in violation of the requirements of part two of Article 19 of the Fundamentals of RF Legislation on Protection of the Health of Citizens;
    — methods of prophylactics, diagnostics, treatment, medical technologies and medicinal preparations which have not been duly tested or approved in the established manner, as prohib ited by part eight of Article 43 of the Fundamentals of RF Legislation on the Protection of the Health of Citizen;
    — healers, ESP experts and other persons claiming to be specialists in treatment by folk- medicine methods and other traditional methods and not in possession of the requisite permits under Articles 56 and 57 of the Fundamentals of RF Legislation on Protection of the Health of Citizens;
    — products subject to obligatory certification but not having the appropriate certificate, in conformity with part four of Article 7 of the RF Certification of Goods and Services Act.

    2. For the advertisements specified in Clause 1 of the present Edict, the persons dis seminating, inserting and making advertisements shall bear liability in conformity with Article 169 of the RF Civil Code, and everything received by them under transactions involving such advertisements shall be exacted into the revenue of the RF for the purposes of public health care.

    3. The organs of the procurator’s office, together with the RF Ministry of Public Health and Medical Industry and public health agencies of RF subjects, shall bring claims under law suits against the editorial boards of the mass media and persons disseminating, inserting and making advertisements, for exaction into the revenue of the RF for the purposes of public health care of everything received by them under transactions from advertisements disseminated in violation of the requirements of RF legislation.

    4. The RF government shall, within the period of three months:
    — consider the matter of compliance with RF legislation on the guarantees of citizens’ right to protection of health in the dissemination and spread of advertising by the editorial boards of mass media and by persons disseminating, inserting and making advertisements;
    — establish the rules of use for the purposes of public health care of the monies exacted into the revenue of the RF, in conformity with Clause 2 of the present Edict.

    5. The present Edict shall take effect upon its promulgation.