Trend watch: libel tourism

July 17, 2008 at 7:30 am Leave a comment

On my way in to work this morning, I was listening to NPR as usual when I heard a report about libel tourism.  Apparently people who want to sue someone for libel are doing some serious forum shopping, primarily focusing their attention on getting into court in England or Wales.  Those jurisdictions offer fewer defenses than, say, the United States, so the plaintiffs are more likely to win (or at least bully the defendants into a favorable settlement).  This year senators Aarlen Spector and Joe Lieberman proposed a Free Speech Protection Act of 2008, a companion to a House bill introduced by Rep. Pete King (NY) and co-sponsored by Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY).

The bill would bar U.S. courts from enforcing libel judgments issued in foreign courts against U.S. residents, if the speech would not be libelous under American law. The bill would also permit American authors and publishers to countersue if the material is protected by the First Amendment. If a jury found that a foreign suit was part of a scheme to suppress free speech rights, it could award treble damages. –Wiki

Read more from the International Herald Tribune and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Check out cute cartoons about libel at CartoonStock.

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Entry filed under: News.

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