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FTC to fine Warner unit $1M over kids privacy
Wednesday - 10/3/2012, 8:25pm EDT
NEW YORK (AP) - The Federal Trade Commission is proposing to fine a unit of Warner Music Group Corp. $1 million for violating a child privacy law in the operation of fan websites for artists including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Rihanna.
Commissioner Edith Ramirez revealed the proposed settlement in a speech in New York on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Children's Advertising Review Unit, a self-regulatory group for the advertising industry. A judge would need to confirm the settlement.
Ramirez said that website operator Artist Arena collected personal details like names, email addresses, street addresses and cellphone numbers of more than 100,000 children aged 12 or younger on sites such as BieberFever.com.
"BieberFever.com got off to a bad start ... and things got worse from there," Ramirez said in prepared remarks.
At first, the site required visitors to input birthdates and other personal information, and required visitors under 13 to submit a parent's email address for confirmation, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York, where Warner Music Group is based.
But after a month of operation, it let underage visitors register and pay for membership without sending an email to the child's parents, the complaint said.
The actions violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, it said.
An FTC spokeswoman declined to comment on the case. Messages seeking comment with Artist Arena and Warner Music were not immediately returned.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)