National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.; Analysis To Aid Public Comment, 52008-52010 [2014-20747]

Download as PDF 52008 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 169 / Tuesday, September 2, 2014 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES The Complaint alleges that NARPM has violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act by adopting and maintaining provisions in its Code of Ethics that restrain its members from (1) soliciting the customers of competing property managers, and (2) making statements that are not false or deceptive about competing property managers. The Complaint alleges that the purpose, effects, tendency, or capacity of the combination, agreement, acts and practices of NARPM has been and is to restrain competition unreasonably and to injure consumers by discouraging and restricting competition among property managers, and by depriving consumers and others of the benefits of free and open competition among property managers. II. The Proposed Order The Proposed Order has the following substantive provisions. Paragraph II requires NARPM to cease and desist from restraining its members from soliciting property management work, or from making statements about competitors’ products, services, or business or commercial practices that are not false or deceptive. The Proposed Order does not prohibit NARPM from adopting and enforcing reasonable restraints with respect to representations that NARPM reasonably believes would be false or deceptive within the meaning of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Paragraph III of the Proposed Order requires NARPM to remove from its Web site and organization documents any statement that does not comply with the Proposed Order, and to publish on the Web site any revision to the organization documents. NARPM must publish an announcement that it has changed its Code of Ethics, and a statement describing the Consent Agreement (‘‘the Settlement Statement’’). NARPM must publish the aforementioned documents in NARPM’s news magazine. NARPM must distribute the Settlement Statement to NARPM’s board of directors, officers, employees, and members. NARPM must publish in all ethics courses designed or offered by NARPM that discuss the provisions at issue a statement that restrictions on solicitation or advertising no longer apply. Paragraph III also requires NARPM to provide all new members and all members who receive a membership renewal notice with a copy of the Settlement Statement. Paragraph IV of the Proposed Order requires NARPM to design, maintain, and operate an antitrust compliance program. NARPM will have to appoint an Antitrust Compliance Officer for the VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:57 Aug 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 duration of the Proposed Order. For a period of five years, NARPM will have to provide in-person annual training to its board of directors, officers, and employees, and conduct a presentation at its annual convention, regional conferences, and each code of ethics training session, that summarizes NARPM’s obligations under the Proposed Order and provides contextappropriate guidance on compliance with the antitrust laws. NARPM must also implement policies and procedures to enable persons to ask questions about, and report violations of, the Proposed Order and the antitrust laws confidentially and without fear of retaliation, and to discipline its board of directors, officers, employees, members, and agents for failure to comply with the Proposed Order. Paragraphs V–VII of the Proposed Order impose certain standard reporting and compliance requirements on NARPM. The Proposed Order will expire in 20 years. By direction of the Commission. Janice Podoll Frankle, Acting Secretary. [FR Doc. 2014–20776 Filed 8–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6750–01–P FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION [File No. 131 0127] National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.; Analysis To Aid Public Comment Federal Trade Commission. Proposed Consent Agreement. AGENCY: ACTION: The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order— embodied in the consent agreement— that would settle these allegations. DATES: Comments must be received on or before September 22, 2014. ADDRESSES: Interested parties may file a comment at https:// ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/ natsconsent online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write ‘‘National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.—Consent Agreement; File No. 131 0127’’ on your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ ftc/natsconsent by following the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 D), 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 D), Washington, DC 20024. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Mills, Bureau of Competition, (202–326–2052), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for August 22, 2014), on the World Wide Web, at http://www.ftc.gov/ os/actions.shtm. 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 ‘‘National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.—Consent Agreement; File No. 131 0127’’ on your 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, like anyone’s 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 E:\FR\FM\02SEN1.SGM 02SEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 169 / Tuesday, September 2, 2014 / Notices information, like 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 have to follow the procedure explained in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).1 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 comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https:// ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/ natsconsent 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. If you file your comment on paper, write ‘‘National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.—Consent Agreement; File No. 131 0127’’ 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 D), 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 D), Washington, DC 20024. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service. 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 1 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 comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:57 Aug 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 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. Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order To Aid Public Comment The Federal Trade Commission (‘‘Commission’’) has accepted, subject to final approval, an Agreement Containing Consent Order (‘‘Consent Agreement’’) from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc. (hereinafter ‘‘NATS’’). The Commission’s complaint (‘‘Complaint’’) alleges that NATS, acting as a combination of its members and in agreement with at least some of its members, restrained competition among its members and others in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 45, by adopting and maintaining a provision in its Code of Ethics that restrains solicitation of teaching work. Under the terms of the proposed Consent Agreement, NATS is required to cease and desist from restricting solicitation among its members, and is required to disaffiliate any Chapter that adopts or maintains provisions in its code of ethics or similar documents that restrain solicitation, advertising, or price-related competition. The Commission anticipates that the competitive issues described in the Complaint will be resolved by accepting the proposed order, subject to final approval, contained in the Consent Agreement. The proposed Consent Agreement has been placed on the public record for 30 days for receipt of comments from interested members of the public. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After 30 days, the Commission will review the Consent Agreement again and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the Consent Agreement or make final the accompanying Decision and Order (‘‘the Proposed Order’’). The purpose of this Analysis to Aid Public Comment is to invite and facilitate public comment. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the proposed Consent Agreement and the accompanying Proposed Order or in any way to modify their terms. The Consent Agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by NATS that PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52009 the law has been violated as alleged in the Complaint or that the facts alleged in the Complaint, other than jurisdictional facts, are true. I. The Complaint The Complaint makes the following allegations. A. The Respondent NATS is a non-profit professional association of more than 7,300 singing teachers. Many of NATS’s members provide music-teaching services for a fee. Some also are employed at schools, universities and music studios as music teachers. NATS membership provides pecuniary benefits to its members. NATS has affiliated state and local chapters, which are grouped into 14 regions. Members of Chapters also are members of NATS. NATS maintains a Code of Ethics applicable to the commercial activities of its members, and requires its members to read and pledge adherence to all the provisions of the Code of Ethics. The NATS Bylaws require that Chapters shall abide by Association Bylaws, policies and guidelines, and will establish their own Bylaws and operating procedures consistent with the NATS Bylaws and with review and consent of the NATS Board of Directors. The NATS Code of Ethics has three sections. One of those sections is titled ‘‘Ethical Standards Relating to Colleagues.’’ That Section of the Code of Ethics includes a provision that states, ‘‘Members will not, either by inducements, innuendos, or other accts, proselytize students of other teachers.’’ Some NATS Chapters have the same Code of Ethics that NATS has. Some Chapters have codes of ethics that contain other restrictions on solicitation, restrictions on price competition, restrictions on advertising free tuition, or restrictions on accepting pupils who have not fulfilled a financial obligation to another member until those obligations are satisfied. B. The Anticompetitive Conduct The Complaint alleges that NATS violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act by restraining competition among singing teachers through adoption and enforcement of the non-solicitation provision of its Code of Ethics. This is in effect an agreement among competitors not to compete. NATS requires members to agree to abide by the non-solicitation provision. NATS adopted a complaint and enforcement procedure for the Code of Ethics that can result in termination of membership. When NATS members have complained that other members E:\FR\FM\02SEN1.SGM 02SEN1 52010 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 169 / Tuesday, September 2, 2014 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES violated the non-solicitation provision of the Code of Ethics, NATS has investigated complaints, and even where no formal action is taken, the NATS Ethics Committee, Executive Director, President, and Regions sometimes contact a teacher to secure compliance with the non-solicitation provision of the Code of Ethics, or mediate between parties in order to resolve complaints. The Complaint alleges that the purpose, effect, tendency, or capacity of the combination, agreement, acts and practices of NATS has been and is to restrain competition unreasonably and to injure consumers by discouraging and restricting competition among music teachers. II. The Proposed Order The Proposed Order has the following substantive provisions. Paragraph I contains definitions for terms used in the Order. Paragraph II requires NATS to cease and desist from restraining or declaring unethical the solicitation of teaching work. It also requires NATS to cease and desist from maintaining a relationship with any NATS Chapter that NATS learns or learns that, or obtains information that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that, engages in conduct that restrains solicitation, advertising, or price-related competition by its members. The Proposed Order does not prohibit NATS from adopting and enforcing reasonable principles (i) to prevent false or deceptive representations, or (ii) to govern the conduct of judges during singing competitions sponsored or held by NATS or its Chapters, or maintaining a relationship with a Chapter that adopts and enforces such principles. The Proposed Order does not prohibit restrictions on judges’ solicitation during competitions because NATS could have a plausible efficiency rationale: Ensuring fair competitions. The Proposed Order’s exemption is limited to restrictions on judges’ behavior during competitions; prohibitions on judges’ pre- or postcompetition solicitation would violate the Proposed Order. Paragraph III requires NATS to remove from its organization documents and Web site any statement inconsistent with the Proposed Order, including the Code of Ethics restriction on solicitation. NATS also must publicize to its members, new members, Chapters, new Chapters, leaders, employees, and the public the changes NATS must make to the Code of Ethics, and a statement describing the Consent Agreement. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:57 Aug 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 Paragraph III also requires NATS to notify each of its Chapters that, as a condition of remaining a NATS Chapter, each Chapter must execute and return a Certification to NATS that the Chapter does not have restrictions on solicitation, advertising, or price-related competition. NATS must terminate any Chapter that does not provide an executed Certification within one hundred and twenty days of when NATS gave notice to the Chapter. Thereafter, if NATS learns that a Chapter has engaged in restraining or declaring unethical the solicitation, advertising, or price-related competition, the Proposed Order requires NATS to terminate the Chapter for one year unless the Chapter informs NATS that the Chapter has eliminated and will not reengage in such practices. Paragraph IV requires NATS to design, maintain, and operate an antitrust compliance program. NATS must appoint an Antitrust Compliance Officer for the duration of the Proposed Order. For a period of five years, NATS must provide guidance to its staff, employees, members, leaders, and Chapters concerning the antitrust laws and NATS’ obligations under the Proposed Order. NATS also must implement policies and procedures to enable persons to ask questions about, and report violations of, the Proposed Order and the antitrust laws confidentially and without fear of retaliation, and to discipline its leaders, employees and agents for failure to comply with the Proposed Order. Paragraphs V–VII of the Proposed Order requires certain standard compliance reporting, cooperation, and access. The Proposed Order will expire in 20 years. By direction of the Commission. Janice Podoll Frankle, Acting Secretary. [FR Doc. 2014–20747 Filed 8–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6750–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Office of the Secretary [Document Identifier OS–0990–0330–60D] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Public Comment Request Office of the Secretary, HHS. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: In compliance with section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of the Secretary (OS), Department of Health and Human Services, announces plans to submit an Information Collection Request (ICR), described below, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The ICR is for extending the use of the approved information collection assigned OMB control number 0990– 0330, which expires on 12/31/14. Prior to submitting that ICR to OMB, OS seeks comments from the public regarding the burden estimate, below, or any other aspect of the ICR. DATES: Comments on the ICR must be received on or before November 3, 2014. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments to Information.CollectionClearance@ hhs.gov or by calling (202) 690–6162. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Information Collection Clearance staff, Information.CollectionClearance@ hhs.gov or (202) 690–6162. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Information Collection Request Title: Annual Appellant Climate Survey— Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA). OMB No.: 0990—0330. Abstract: The annual OMHA Appellant Climate Survey is a survey of Medicare beneficiaries, providers, suppliers, or their representatives who participated in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA). Appellants dissatisfied with the outcome of their Level 2 Medicare appeal may request a hearing before an OMHA ALJ. The Appellant Climate Survey will be used to measure appellant satisfaction with their OMHA appeals experience, as opposed to their satisfaction with a specific ruling. OMHA was established by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 (Pub. L. 108–173) and became operational on July 1, 2005. The MMA legislation and implementing regulations issued on March 8, 2007 instituted a number of changes in the appeals process. The MMA legislation also directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to consider the feasibility of conducting hearings using telephone or video-teleconference (VTC) technologies. In carrying out this mandate, OMHA makes use of VTC to provide appellants with a vast nationwide network of access points for hearings close to their homes. The first three-year administration cycle of the OMHA survey began in FY08 and a second three-year cycle began in FY12. The survey will continue to be E:\FR\FM\02SEN1.SGM 02SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 169 (Tuesday, September 2, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52008-52010]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-20747]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

[File No. 131 0127]


National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.; Analysis To 
Aid Public Comment

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION: Proposed Consent Agreement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged 
violations of federal law prohibiting unfair methods of competition. 
The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the 
allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order--
embodied in the consent agreement--that would settle these allegations.

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

ADDRESSES: Interested parties may file a comment at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/natsconsent online or on paper, by 
following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write ``National Association 
of Teachers of Singing, Inc.--Consent Agreement; File No. 131 0127'' on 
your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/natsconsent 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 D), 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 
D), Washington, DC 20024.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Mills, Bureau of Competition, 
(202-326-2052), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal 
Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, 
notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement 
containing consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with 
and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been 
placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The 
following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the 
consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic 
copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained 
from the FTC Home Page (for August 22, 2014), on the World Wide Web, at 
http://www.ftc.gov/os/actions.shtm.
    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 ``National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc.--
Consent Agreement; File No. 131 0127'' on your 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, like anyone's 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

[[Page 52009]]

information, like 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 have to follow the procedure explained 
in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).\1\ 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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 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 comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 
4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to 
heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit 
your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your 
online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/natsconsent 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.
    If you file your comment on paper, write ``National Association of 
Teachers of Singing, Inc.--Consent Agreement; File No. 131 0127'' 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 D), 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 D), Washington, DC 20024. If 
possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or 
overnight service.
    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.

Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order To Aid Public Comment

    The Federal Trade Commission (``Commission'') has accepted, subject 
to final approval, an Agreement Containing Consent Order (``Consent 
Agreement'') from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc. 
(hereinafter ``NATS''). The Commission's complaint (``Complaint'') 
alleges that NATS, acting as a combination of its members and in 
agreement with at least some of its members, restrained competition 
among its members and others in violation of Section 5 of the Federal 
Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 45, by adopting and 
maintaining a provision in its Code of Ethics that restrains 
solicitation of teaching work.
    Under the terms of the proposed Consent Agreement, NATS is required 
to cease and desist from restricting solicitation among its members, 
and is required to disaffiliate any Chapter that adopts or maintains 
provisions in its code of ethics or similar documents that restrain 
solicitation, advertising, or price-related competition.
    The Commission anticipates that the competitive issues described in 
the Complaint will be resolved by accepting the proposed order, subject 
to final approval, contained in the Consent Agreement. The proposed 
Consent Agreement has been placed on the public record for 30 days for 
receipt of comments from interested members of the public. Comments 
received during this period will become part of the public record. 
After 30 days, the Commission will review the Consent Agreement again 
and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw 
from the Consent Agreement or make final the accompanying Decision and 
Order (``the Proposed Order'').
    The purpose of this Analysis to Aid Public Comment is to invite and 
facilitate public comment. It is not intended to constitute an official 
interpretation of the proposed Consent Agreement and the accompanying 
Proposed Order or in any way to modify their terms.
    The Consent Agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not 
constitute an admission by NATS that the law has been violated as 
alleged in the Complaint or that the facts alleged in the Complaint, 
other than jurisdictional facts, are true.

I. The Complaint

    The Complaint makes the following allegations.
A. The Respondent
    NATS is a non-profit professional association of more than 7,300 
singing teachers. Many of NATS's members provide music-teaching 
services for a fee. Some also are employed at schools, universities and 
music studios as music teachers. NATS membership provides pecuniary 
benefits to its members.
    NATS has affiliated state and local chapters, which are grouped 
into 14 regions. Members of Chapters also are members of NATS.
    NATS maintains a Code of Ethics applicable to the commercial 
activities of its members, and requires its members to read and pledge 
adherence to all the provisions of the Code of Ethics. The NATS Bylaws 
require that Chapters shall abide by Association Bylaws, policies and 
guidelines, and will establish their own Bylaws and operating 
procedures consistent with the NATS Bylaws and with review and consent 
of the NATS Board of Directors.
    The NATS Code of Ethics has three sections. One of those sections 
is titled ``Ethical Standards Relating to Colleagues.'' That Section of 
the Code of Ethics includes a provision that states, ``Members will 
not, either by inducements, innuendos, or other accts, proselytize 
students of other teachers.''
    Some NATS Chapters have the same Code of Ethics that NATS has. Some 
Chapters have codes of ethics that contain other restrictions on 
solicitation, restrictions on price competition, restrictions on 
advertising free tuition, or restrictions on accepting pupils who have 
not fulfilled a financial obligation to another member until those 
obligations are satisfied.
B. The Anticompetitive Conduct
    The Complaint alleges that NATS violated Section 5 of the Federal 
Trade Commission Act by restraining competition among singing teachers 
through adoption and enforcement of the non-solicitation provision of 
its Code of Ethics. This is in effect an agreement among competitors 
not to compete. NATS requires members to agree to abide by the non-
solicitation provision. NATS adopted a complaint and enforcement 
procedure for the Code of Ethics that can result in termination of 
membership. When NATS members have complained that other members

[[Page 52010]]

violated the non-solicitation provision of the Code of Ethics, NATS has 
investigated complaints, and even where no formal action is taken, the 
NATS Ethics Committee, Executive Director, President, and Regions 
sometimes contact a teacher to secure compliance with the non-
solicitation provision of the Code of Ethics, or mediate between 
parties in order to resolve complaints.
    The Complaint alleges that the purpose, effect, tendency, or 
capacity of the combination, agreement, acts and practices of NATS has 
been and is to restrain competition unreasonably and to injure 
consumers by discouraging and restricting competition among music 
teachers.

II. The Proposed Order

    The Proposed Order has the following substantive provisions.
    Paragraph I contains definitions for terms used in the Order.
    Paragraph II requires NATS to cease and desist from restraining or 
declaring unethical the solicitation of teaching work. It also requires 
NATS to cease and desist from maintaining a relationship with any NATS 
Chapter that NATS learns or learns that, or obtains information that 
would lead a reasonable person to conclude that, engages in conduct 
that restrains solicitation, advertising, or price-related competition 
by its members.
    The Proposed Order does not prohibit NATS from adopting and 
enforcing reasonable principles (i) to prevent false or deceptive 
representations, or (ii) to govern the conduct of judges during singing 
competitions sponsored or held by NATS or its Chapters, or maintaining 
a relationship with a Chapter that adopts and enforces such principles. 
The Proposed Order does not prohibit restrictions on judges' 
solicitation during competitions because NATS could have a plausible 
efficiency rationale: Ensuring fair competitions. The Proposed Order's 
exemption is limited to restrictions on judges' behavior during 
competitions; prohibitions on judges' pre- or post-competition 
solicitation would violate the Proposed Order.
    Paragraph III requires NATS to remove from its organization 
documents and Web site any statement inconsistent with the Proposed 
Order, including the Code of Ethics restriction on solicitation. NATS 
also must publicize to its members, new members, Chapters, new 
Chapters, leaders, employees, and the public the changes NATS must make 
to the Code of Ethics, and a statement describing the Consent 
Agreement.
    Paragraph III also requires NATS to notify each of its Chapters 
that, as a condition of remaining a NATS Chapter, each Chapter must 
execute and return a Certification to NATS that the Chapter does not 
have restrictions on solicitation, advertising, or price-related 
competition. NATS must terminate any Chapter that does not provide an 
executed Certification within one hundred and twenty days of when NATS 
gave notice to the Chapter. Thereafter, if NATS learns that a Chapter 
has engaged in restraining or declaring unethical the solicitation, 
advertising, or price-related competition, the Proposed Order requires 
NATS to terminate the Chapter for one year unless the Chapter informs 
NATS that the Chapter has eliminated and will not reengage in such 
practices.
    Paragraph IV requires NATS to design, maintain, and operate an 
antitrust compliance program. NATS must appoint an Antitrust Compliance 
Officer for the duration of the Proposed Order. For a period of five 
years, NATS must provide guidance to its staff, employees, members, 
leaders, and Chapters concerning the antitrust laws and NATS' 
obligations under the Proposed Order. NATS also must implement policies 
and procedures to enable persons to ask questions about, and report 
violations of, the Proposed Order and the antitrust laws confidentially 
and without fear of retaliation, and to discipline its leaders, 
employees and agents for failure to comply with the Proposed Order.
    Paragraphs V-VII of the Proposed Order requires certain standard 
compliance reporting, cooperation, and access.
    The Proposed Order will expire in 20 years.

    By direction of the Commission.
Janice Podoll Frankle,
Acting Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2014-20747 Filed 8-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P