Digital Signage and the Law – Importance of responsible installations

It is quite common on many empty city walls and properties to see the words: ‘Bill posters will be prosecuted.’ Irresponsible outdoor advertising has been responsible for legislation preventing the unauthorised use of outdoor advertisements as well as blackening the name of those responsible street advertisers.

A similar problem is now arising with the arrival of outdoor digital signage and much debate and controversy is now centred on the use of this new street advertising.

Critics of outside digital signage claim it is aesthetically unsightly and can cause a distraction to drivers that have led to many authorities in the USA in particular, to question street advertising legislation and to contemplate additional restrictions for outdoor digital signage.

Restrictions that are being imposed on digital signage installations include:

* A limit to the number of electronic billboards and digital signage systems in any given area
* Limiting sign companies from converting traditional print media into digital signage
* Limiting the time and frequency that images and advertisements can change with time limits set on messages so no more than one change in every eight seconds being a common restriction.
* Some states in the USA (Montana to name one) have even banned digital signage from state roads meaning that no digital signage along roadsides in the entire state can exist (A considerable blow to the outdoor advertising industry that have for decades used static billboards along roadsides and are now unable to convert them to digital billboards)

Some of these measures may seem quite draconian; especially the banning of all roadside digital signage, and many other cities, states and countries may not restrict digital advertising in such an austere manner. However, it is clear that if outdoor advertising companies fail to act responsibly and erect digital signage that could be considered unsightly, dangerous or a nuisance.

As an industry it is important we all act responsibly otherwise our own local councils and authorities may impose similar restriction curbing installations, profit and expansion of the entire outdoor digital signage industry.

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