Senate Passes Libel Tourism Bill: Won't Recognize Ridiculous Foreign Libel Judgments

from the nice-to-see dept

We've written many, many times about the problems of libel tourism. Basically, some countries have ridiculous overbearing libel laws, that not only put the burden on those accused, but also leave open the ability of being found guilty of libel for telling the truth. With the rise of the internet meaning that something published online is published "everywhere," there's been an increase of individuals and companies suing for libel in random countries, who have stricter libel laws, claiming that since the content was available in those countries, those libel laws apply. Of course, if that's true, it would effectively mean that the lowest common denominator of restrictive laws around the world apply everywhere.

Thankfully, the US has more reasonable defamation laws than many other parts of the world (though, they could still be improved). But more and more US citizens have been caught up in libel tourism cases elsewhere. The Senate has now passed an anti-libel tourism bill, which would prevent the US courts from enforcing foreign judgments in libel cases that seem to go against the US First Amendment. The bill is expected to pass in the House as well. This all seems good, though, I have to admit that I hadn't realized US courts would enforce foreign libel decision in the US even if they went against the First Amendment. You would have thought that the US courts were already prevented from allowing things like that... Rather than just a specific "libel tourism" law, why do we allow US courts to enforce foreign rulings that appear to go against US law at all?

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  1. icon
    JackSombra (profile), 22 Jul 2010 @ 2:41am

    Right conclusion by government but highly doubt for right reasons

    US has long standing practice of ignoring other country’s laws (and international law when it suits them) while attempting to either export their laws to other countries where possible and if not possible just attempt to apply US law on non-citizens for actions that occurred in other countries.

    This is normal standard operating procedure, hardly something to congratulate them for

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