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Transnational Culture in the Internet Age

Transnational Culture in the Internet Age

Elgar Law, Technology and Society series

Edited by Sean A. Pager and Adam Candeub

The insightful contributions shed new light on insufficiently examined issues and highlight connections that cut across the many different domains in which such regulations operate. Building upon the framework presented by David Post – one of the first and most prominent scholars of cyber law and a contributor to this volume – the authors address the implications and economics of the Internet’s astronomical scale, jurisdiction and enforcement of the web as it relates to topics including libel tourism and threats to free speech, and the power of global communication to dissolve and recreate identities.

Chapter 3: Addressing ‘Libel Tourism’

Lili Levi

Subjects: innovation and technology, technology and ict, law - academic, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law, internet and technology law, politics and public policy, public policy


3. Addressing “libel tourism” Lili Levi* 3.1 INTRODUCTION On August 10, 2010, United States (US) President Obama signed into law the SPEECH Act – the first federal “libel tourism” statute.1 While there is no single definition of “libel tourism,” the term is used to refer critically to a particular example of forum shopping: defamation plaintiffs choosing to sue in jurisdictions with claimant-favorable libel law but insignificant ties to the dispute.2 The SPEECH Act prohibits recognition and enforcement within the United States of foreign defamation judgments unless the foreign court applied law providing at least as much speech and press * This chapter is based on a paper presented at the Bits Without Borders Conference, Sept. 24–25, 2010, Michigan State Univerity. I owe a great debt of gratitude to Adam Candeub, Bernie Oxman, Steve Schnably, Ralph Shalom, and Nicolò Trocker for comments and conversations about the conference paper. Many thanks also to Derek Bambauer and Anupam Chander for their thoughtful questions and comments at the Conference. Andy Beaulieu provided able research assistance. All remaining errors are my own. 1 Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act, Pub. L. 111–223, 111th Cong., 28 USC § 4102 (2010) (SPEECH Act). 2 See, e.g. Trevor C. Hartley, “Libel Tourism” and Conflict of Laws, 59 Int. & Comp. L.Q. 25 (2010) (noting that even Wikipedia defines the term). The phrase is admittedly glib, but intended as a serious critique of foreign courts “that assume jurisdiction in respect of publications that have a minimal...

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