Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Sean A. Pager and Adam Candeub
Chapter 3: Addressing ‘Libel Tourism’
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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