[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 134 (Monday, July 14, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 40691-40693]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-16340]


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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

16 CFR Part 304


Rules and Regulations Under the Hobby Protection Act

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION: Request for public comments.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Trade Commission (``Commission'') requests public 
comment on the overall costs and benefits, and regulatory and economic 
impact, of its Rules and Regulations Under the Hobby Protection Act 
(``Rules''), as part of the agency's regular review of all its 
regulations and guides.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before September 22, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties may file a comment online or on paper, by 
following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write ``Hobby Protection Rules 
Review'' on your comment. You may file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/hobbyprotectionrules, by following the 
instructions on the Web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment 
on paper, mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade 
Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite 
CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the 
following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 
Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex 
B), Washington, DC 20024.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua S. Millard (202) 326-2454, 
Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 600 
Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20580.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On November 29, 1973, the President signed into law the Hobby 
Protection Act (``Act''), 15 U.S.C. 2101-06. The Act requires 
manufacturers and importers of ``imitation political items'' \1\ to 
``plainly and permanently'' mark them with the ``calendar year'' the 
items were manufactured. Id. Sec.  2101(a). The Act also requires 
manufacturers and importers of ``imitation numismatic items'' \2\ to 
``plainly and permanently'' mark these items with the word ``copy.'' 
Id. Sec.  2101(b). The Act directed the Commission to promulgate 
regulations for determining the ``manner and form'' that imitation 
political items and imitation numismatic items are to be permanently 
marked with the calendar year of manufacture or the word ``copy.'' Id. 
Sec.  2101(c).
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    \1\ An imitation political item is ``an item which purports to 
be, but in fact is not, an original political item, or which is a 
reproduction, copy, or counterfeit of an original political item.'' 
15 U.S.C. 2106(2). The Act defines original political items as being 
any political button, poster, literature, sticker or any 
advertisement produced for use in any political cause. Id. section 
2106(1).
    \2\ An imitation numismatic item is ``an item which purports to 
be, but in fact is not, an original numismatic item or which is a 
reproduction, copy, or counterfeit of an original numismatic item.'' 
15 U.S.C. 2106(4). The Act defines original numismatic items to 
include coins, tokens, paper money, and commemorative medals which 
have been part of a coinage or issue used in exchange or used to 
commemorate a person or event. Id. section 2106(3).
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    In 1975, the Commission issued Rules and Regulations Under the 
Hobby Protection Act, 16 CFR part 304.\3\ The Rules track the 
definitions used in the Act and implement the Act's ``plain and 
permanent'' marking requirements by establishing the location of the 
marking on the item, the sizes and dimensions of the letters and 
numerals to be used, and how to mark incusable and nonincusable 
items.\4\ In 1988, the Commission amended the Rules to provide 
additional guidance on the minimum size of letters for the word 
``copy'' as a proportion of the diameter of coin reproductions.\5\ 53 
FR 38942 (Oct. 4, 1988).
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    \3\ 40 FR 5459 (Feb. 6, 1975).
    \4\ Incusable items are those that can be impressed with a 
stamp.
    \5\ Before this amendment, if a coin were too small to comply 
with the minimum letter size requirements, the manufacturer or 
importer had to request a variance from those requirements from the 
Commission. Because imitation miniature coins were becoming more 
common, the Commission determined that it was in the public interest 
to allow the word ``copy'' to appear on miniature imitation coins in 
sizes that could be reduced proportionately with the size of the 
item.
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    The Commission most recently reviewed the Rules in 2004. That 
review yielded many comments proposing that the Commission expand 
coverage to products beyond the scope of the Act and address problems 
involving the selling (or passing off) as originals of reproductions of 
antiques and other items not covered by the Act. However, the 
Commission retained the Rules without change, noting that it did not 
have authority under the Act to expand the Rules as requested. 69 FR 
9943 (Mar. 3, 2004).

II. Regulatory Review Program

    The Commission periodically reviews all of its rules and guides. 
These reviews seek information about the costs and benefits of the 
agency's rules and guides, and their regulatory and economic impact. 
The information obtained assists the Commission in identifying those 
rules and guides that warrant modification or rescission. Therefore, 
the Commission solicits comments on, among other things, the economic 
impact of and the continuing need for the Rules; possible developments 
in the case law that need to be reflected in the Rules; and the effect 
on the Rules of any technological, economic, or other industry changes.

[[Page 40692]]

III. Request for Comment

    The Commission solicits comment on the following specific questions 
related to the Rules:
    (1) Is there a continuing need for the Rules as currently 
promulgated? Why or why not?
    (2) What benefits have the Rules provided to consumers? What 
evidence supports the asserted benefits?
    (3) What modifications, if any, should the Commission make to the 
Rules to increase their benefits to consumers?
    (a) What evidence supports your proposed modifications?
    (b) How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for consumers?
    (c) How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for businesses, particularly small businesses?
    (4) What impact have the Rules had on the flow of truthful 
information to consumers and on the flow of deceptive information to 
consumers?
    (5) What significant costs, if any, have the Rules imposed on 
consumers? What evidence supports the asserted costs?
    (6) What modifications, if any, should be made to the Rules to 
reduce any costs imposed on consumers?
    (a) What evidence supports your proposed modifications?
    (b) How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for consumers?
    (c) How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for businesses, particularly small businesses?
    (7) What benefits, if any, have the Rules provided to businesses, 
and in particular to small businesses? What evidence supports the 
asserted benefits?
    (8) What modifications, if any, should be made to the Rules to 
increase their benefits to businesses, and particularly to small 
businesses?
    (a) What evidence supports your proposed modifications?
    (b) How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for consumers?
    (c) How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for businesses?
    (9) What significant costs, if any, including costs of compliance, 
have the Rules imposed on businesses, particularly small businesses? 
What evidence supports the asserted costs?
    (10) What modifications, if any, should be made to the Rules to 
reduce the costs imposed on businesses, and particularly on small 
businesses?
    (a) What evidence supports your proposed modifications?
    (b) How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for consumers?
    (c) How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for businesses?
    (11) What evidence is available concerning the degree of industry 
compliance with the Rules? Does this evidence indicate that the Rules 
should be modified? If so, why, and how? If not, why not?
    (12) Are any of the Rules' requirements no longer needed? If so, 
explain. Please provide supporting evidence.
    (13) What potentially unfair or deceptive practices concerning 
imitation political items and imitation numismatic items, if any, are 
not covered by the Rules?
    (a) What evidence demonstrates the existence of such practices?
    (b) With reference to such practices, should the Rules be modified? 
If so, why, and how? If not, why not?
    (14) What modifications, if any, should be made to the Rules to 
account for changes in relevant technology or economic conditions?
    (a) What evidence supports the proposed modifications?
    (b) How would these modifications affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for consumers and businesses, particularly small businesses?
    (15) Do the Rules overlap or conflict with other federal, state, or 
local laws or regulations? If so, how?
    (a) What evidence supports the asserted conflicts?
    (b) With reference to the asserted conflicts, should the Rules be 
modified? If so, why, and how? If not, why not?
    (16) Are there foreign or international laws, regulations, or 
standards with respect to the products or services covered by the Rules 
that the Commission should consider as it reviews the Rules? If so, 
what are they?
    (a) Should the Rules be modified in order to harmonize with these 
foreign or international laws, regulations, or standards? If so, why, 
and how? If not, why not?
    (b) How would such harmonization affect the costs and benefits of 
the Rules for consumers and businesses, particularly small businesses?

IV. Instructions for Submitting Comments

    You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to 
consider your comment, we must receive it on or before September 22, 
2014. Write ``Hobby Protection Rules Review'' on the comment. Your 
comment, including your name and your state, will be placed on the 
public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, 
on the public Commission Web site, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of discretion, the Commission tries to 
remove individuals' home contact information from comments before 
placing them on the Commission Web site. Because your comment will be 
made public, you are solely responsible for making sure that your 
comment does not include any sensitive personal information, such as a 
Social Security number, date of birth, driver's license number or other 
state identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport 
number, financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You 
are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not 
include any sensitive health information, such as medical records or 
other individually identifiable health information.
    In addition, do not include any ``[t]rade secret or any commercial 
or financial information which is . . . privileged or confidential,'' 
as discussed in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC 
Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, do not include 
competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, 
inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or 
customer names.
    If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential 
treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for 
confidential treatment, and you must follow the procedure explained in 
FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c). In particular, the written request for 
confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the 
factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific 
portions of the comments to be withheld from the public record. Your 
comment will be kept confidential only if the FTC General Counsel, in 
his or her sole discretion, grants your request in accordance with the 
law and the public interest.
    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to 
heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit 
your comment online. To make sure that the Commission considers your 
online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/hobbyprotectionrules, by following the instructions on the web-
based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home, you also may file a comment through that Web site.

[[Page 40693]]

    If you file your comment on paper, write ``Hobby Protection Rules 
Review'' on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to 
the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the 
Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), 
Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: 
Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 
400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 
20024.
    Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this 
Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws 
that the Commission administers permit the collection of public 
comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The 
Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that 
it receives on or before September 22, 2014. You can find more 
information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in 
the Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2014-16340 Filed 7-11-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P