The FTC announced today that Sony BMG Music has agreed to pay a $1 million fine to settle charges that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
The Act applies to any website that has actual knowledge it collects, uses and disclosed personal information from children.
The FTC’s complaint alleges, among other things, that Sony BMG’s over 1,100 music-related websites collect certain personal information upon registration, including e-mail addresses, birthdate, zip code and country. Some of the sites also collected names, mobile phone numbers and full street addresses. The sites offered a variety of features and functions including enabling registered users to create profile pages, post comments on message boards and receive e-mail notices.
The FTC alleged that Sony BMG violated COPPA by not clearly and accurately setting forth its policies for disclosing and using children’s information; failing to provide parents with notice of the information practices prior to collecting information; and failing to take steps to obtain verifiable consent from parents prior to collecting children’s information.