UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Federal Trade Commission, having reason to believe that Voice Media Incorporated, and Ron Levi and Paul Lesser, individually and as officers of the corporation ("Respondents"), have violated the provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act, and it appearing to the Commission that this proceeding is in the public interest, alleges:
1. Respondent Voice Media Incorporated is a Nevada corporation with its principal office or place of business at 2533 North Carson Street, Suite 1091, Carson City, Nevada 89706.
2. Respondent Ron Levi is an officer of the corporate respondent. Individually or in concert with others, he formulates, directs, or controls the policies, acts, or practices of the corporation, including the acts or practices alleged in this complaint. His principal office or place of business is the same as that of Voice Media Incorporated.
3. Respondent Paul Lesser is an officer of the corporate respondent. Individually or in concert with others, he formulates, directs, or controls the policies, acts, or practices of the corporation, including the acts or practices alleged in this complaint. His principal office or place of business is the same as that of Voice Media Incorporated.
4. At all times relevant to this complaint, the Respondents have maintained a substantial course of trade in the advertising, offering for sale, and sale of Internet-based adult entertainment programs.
5. The acts and practices of the Respondents alleged in this complaint have been in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 44.
6. "World Wide Web" or "web" means a system used on the Internet for cross-referencing and retrieving information. A "web site" is a set of electronic documents, usually a home page and subordinate pages, readily viewable on a computer by anyone with access to the Web, standard software, and knowledge of the web site's location or address.
7. "Internet" means a worldwide system of linked computer networks that have a common protocol (TCP/IP) to deliver and receive information. The Internet includes, but is not limited to, the following forms of electronic communication: electronic mail, the World Wide Web, newsgroups, Internet Relay Chat, and file transfers.
8. Since at least August 1996, Respondents have operated and promoted one or more web sites offering adult entertainment programs, including, but not necessarily limited to, the following: cybererotica (http://www.cybererotica.com), FF5 (http://www.FF5.com), clubpix (http://www.clubpix.com), boobtropolis (http://www.boobtropolis.com), and xxxpassword (http://www.xxxpassword.com).
9. Respondents have disseminated, or caused to be disseminated, advertisements for their adult entertainment programs over the Internet. These advertisements contain statements that include, but are not limited to, "100% FREE MEMBERSHIP CLICK HERE!" and "Join Now For Free!"
10. Respondents' Internet sites instruct consumers to participate in the "free" membership offer by "clicking" hypertext links that state "100% Free Membership Click Here!" or "Next." Consumers who click on the hypertext links are taken to registration screens. The registration screens instruct consumers to provide identifying information and a credit card number to verify that they are of legal age to access and view adult images, prompt consumers to select a user name and password for access to the online programs, and provide details about the terms and conditions of the free membership. The registration screens associated with Respondents' Internet sites contain statements that include, but are not limited to:
11. Through the means described in Paragraphs 9 and 10, Respondents have represented, expressly or by implication, that they will not charge membership fees to consumers who cancel their free trial memberships within seven days of providing credit or debit card information and agreeing to participate in the free trial membership offers.
12. In truth and in fact, Respondents have:
13. Therefore, the representation set forth in Paragraph 11 was, and is, false or misleading.
14. Through the means described in Paragraphs 9 and 10, Respondents have represented, expressly or by implication, that consumers may obtain free access to goods or services and may cancel access to those goods and services without being assessed any fees.
15. In numerous instances, Respondents have failed to disclose clearly and conspicuously:
16. The facts set forth in Paragraph 15 would be material to consumers in their purchase or use of Respondents' goods or services. The failure to disclose these facts, in light of the representations made, was, and is, a deceptive practice
17. The acts or practices of Respondents as alleged in this complaint constitute deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
THEREFORE, the Federal Trade Commission this twenty-third day of May 2001, has issued this complaint against Respondents.
By the Commission.
Donald S. Clark