CALM down - New American law stops TV advertisers from turning up the volume

The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act has come into effect

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The Independent Culture

A new law to ensure the volume level of television commercials is the same as the main programme has been imposed in America.

The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act has now come into effect preventing advertisers from imposing excessively loud adverts on viewers.

It applies to broadcasters, cable and satellite channels alike. They have had two years to prepare for implementation after the law was agreed by the Federal Communications Commission.

The act follows rules set by a United Nations body in Switzerland in 2009 and is inspired by decades of consumer complaints about intrusively loud commercial breaks.

California Democrat Anna Eshoo, who sponsored the bill, told the Wall Street Journal that the bill is the most popular she has pushed in her 18 years in Congress.

"If I'd saved 50 million children from some malady, people would not have the interest that they have in this," Eshoo said in 2010.

The loudness of television adverts was first examined by American legislators in 1984 when regulators ruled that there was no objective way to quantify and control it – leaving advertisers free to turn the volume up.

The CALM bill was approved unanimously in the upper chamber and President Barack Obama signed it into law on 15 December 2010.