This message shall not be construed as illegal

Staying up late and watching bad commercials can be an interesting experience: You can see all sorts of shady characters parading themselves in front of an audience they think is merely local (I can get network affiliates from both Los Angeles and New York via Dish Network.), offering to do obscene things for money. I’m talking, of course, about low-rent lawyers. :smiley:

Small print is a semi-legal professional’s friend, and it’s used to great effect in TV commercials. One I’ve noticed runs something like this: “This message shall not be construed as an offer in any jurisdiction where such an offer would not be legal.”

Eh? Can they do that? Can they say what the courts can and cannot construe something as? How deep does this little rabbit hole go?

Could I go on TV and legally offer to sell herion and MAC-10s with fine print like that?

Naw, the construing (or lack thereof) is being done by the viewer. IOW, if the viewer happens to live in a jurisdiction where the advertised services (say, whacking the enemy smack dealer down the block) would be illegal, the ad is not to be construed as offering the advertised services.

Clear as mud, right?

freido, that is interesting. So, could the police still arrest the person making the claims, or does the fine print preclude that?

I’m not quite ready to believe that someone could offer herion to the TV public and not be a candidate for Sing Sing just because he flashed the right fine print incantations below his smiling mug.

Derleth, it applies in situations where what the advertisement of the product or service is legal in some states but not others.

The heroin example may be okay, provided that there isn’t a specific prohibition against advertising heroin. Usually it’s the sale, posession or use of heroin that’s proscribed.

Desmo: Hm. That makes sense.

Note that if someone actually was in possession of a quantity of heroin intended for sale, advertising that fact on TV might not be the brightest idea.

You will see those disclaimers more and more now that TV programming is commonly received outside of what used to be a “local broadcast area.” Fast food commercials add “at participating locations” when they advertise specials. “Void where prohibited by law” is another catchall phrase, usually used in conjunction with sweepstakes advertisements because “games of chance” are prohibited in some states.

My take on it.

It has to be legal somewhere before you can advertise with that disclaimer. Since murder and heroin are not legal anywhere (well, in this coutnry anyway), they can`t be advertised anywhere. Disclaimer or not.

Parodies, where the humorous content is obvious is an exception.