This morning, the Niskanen Center and its allies signed on to a letter initiated by the R Street Institute supporting the SPEAK FREE Act. This legislation is intended to ameliorate concerns associated with strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), and would provide Americans with access to a special motion to dismiss SLAPPs, as well as empower the courts to shift fees so that defendants who prevail on an anti-SLAPP motion do not need to bear the burden of significant legal costs associated with a meritless suit intended to intimidate and censor individuals who provide negative feedback and reviews online.
This is especially important to the modern digital economy. As we note in the letter:
An increasingly important facet of the digital economy is the ability to provide online reviews or feedback. This ability bestows confidence to consumers to do business with those they’ve never met, whether they are buying a product, hailing a ride, or booking a place to stay in an unfamiliar city. Unfortunately, online reviews increasingly are targeted by SLAPPs, as unscrupulous businessmen seek to censor their critics, rather than working to improve the experiences, products or services they offer.
The full text of the letter can be read here.