FTC acts on IPR's Complaint about Your Baby Can Read's Deceptive Advertising

Front of Box of Your Baby Can Read DVDsOn 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.

About Angela Campbell

Angela Campbell has directed the Media Law and Policy program at the Institute for Public Representation since 1988. She is also a full-time tenured Professor at Georgetown Law.
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