On August 28, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission responded to IPR’s Request for Investigation by filing a complaint against the makers of Your Baby Can Read! (“YBCR”). YBCR is a set of DVDs, books, and flashcards that retails for approximately $200. It has been advertised widely on television and the internet for several years.
IPR filed the request on behalf of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in April 2011. We showed that YBCR made false and unsubstantiated claims that watching these DVDs would teaches babies to read and that children who used YBCR would perform better than their peers in the future. Such claims took advantage of parents’ natural desire to provide every possible advantage for their young children. Moreover, YBCR’s recommendations for using the product were inconsistent with recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics of no screen time for children under age two.
The FTC’s complaint was filed in US District Court for the Southern District against Your Baby Can, LLC, Hugh Penton and Robert Titzer. It alleges that they engaged in deceptive acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act. Two of the defendants agreed to settle the case. Under the terms of the settlement they are prohibited from any further use of the term “Your Baby Can Read.” The settlement also imposes a $185 million judgment, which equals the company’s gross sales since January 2008, although part of this amount will be suspended suspended because of the company’s failing financial condition and decision to go out of business.