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About Time: NY Governor Cuomo Signs Anti-SLAPP Law

from the free-speech-comes-to-NY dept

Back in July, we noted that after years of living with a pathetically weak anti-SLAPP bill, the NY legislature had finally approved a more significant anti-SLAPP bill. It's incredible that it has taken this long, given that much of the media industry is based in New York, and for so many years has been open to a barrage of ridiculous SLAPP suits, since the old law only covered speech made in the process of petitioning the government. Also, unlike most anti-SLAPP bills, New York's did not have automatic fee shifting, which would make the vexatious litigant have to pay for the legal costs of the defendant.

For unclear reasons, the bill sat on Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk unsigned for months. However, that finally ended yesterday as he has now signed the bill into law:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that protects citizens' rights to free speech and petition by deterring abusive "strategic lawsuits against public participation," known as SLAPPs. SLAPP lawsuits are frivolous litigation brought by affluent plaintiffs who have the ability to spend large sums of money by using expensive and time-consuming litigation to obstruct those exercising their right to free speech. The legislation amends the Civil Rights Law to require costs and attorney's fees to be recovered regarding these frivolous lawsuits, which will deter plaintiffs from bringing such lawsuits in the first place.

"For too long, powerful and wealthy interests have used frivolous lawsuits to harass and intimidate critics by burdening them with exorbitant legal fees and time consuming legal processes. That ends now," Governor Cuomo said. "I am proud to sign this legislation, which protects New Yorkers' fundamental right to free speech without fear of harassment or bullying by those who happen to have more money than they do."

It's good to see yet another state improve their anti-SLAPP laws. There are still many states with no anti-SLAPP laws or weak ones -- and there still is no federal anti-SLAPP law at all. It's about time that the new Congress and a new President support such a law next year. Over the last four years, we've seen a massive flurry of SLAPP suits, designed to intimidate and suppress speech, even by thin-skinned members of Congress (one assumes Devin Nunes is a no vote on any federal anti-SLAPP law). Such a bill should receive overwhelming support in Congress and would protect the free expression rights of every American.

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Filed Under: 1st amendment, andrew cuomo, anti-slapp, anti-slapp laws, defamation, free speech, new york, slapp


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  • icon
    Stan (profile), 12 Nov 2020 @ 4:08pm

    who's a no vote?

    "one assumes Devin Nunes is a no vote "

    What about his cow?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 12 Nov 2020 @ 4:28pm

    YAAAYYY!!!

    So proud of my state! Now we can join the ranks of California and Tennessee as "States with strong anti-SLAPP statutes!" This really, really makes me happy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 12 Nov 2020 @ 4:38pm

    Sunrise date

    BTW, Mike, do you know when the stronger, robust anti-SLAPP law will take effect?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Friend of the ABC (bet none know the French pun), 12 Nov 2020 @ 5:30pm

    You wish SLAPP to allow unlimited nasty political attacks.

    As you did on Ayyadurai. That's your real interest here, to be advantaged so can make any and every baseless invented smear.

    You're advantaged by key point that the people whom you wish to attack aren't likely to make false claims and smears against you. SLAPP is simply another weapon in the leftist agenda.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Nov 2020 @ 5:53pm

      This article is about a law that would make SLAPP suits less likely to happen — a law, might I add, that Techdirt supports. How can you be this goddamn wrong?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Nov 2020 @ 5:45am

        Re:

        "How can you be this goddamn wrong?"

        Oh, give poor Baghdad Bob a break. I mean he still believes Shiva invented e-mail so for him to demonstrate raging dyslexia and broken logic is pretty much expected.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2020 @ 7:09pm

        Re:

        It's think that he believes that anti-SLAPP laws will make it easier to slander people.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2020 @ 6:27am

      Re: You wish SLAPP to allow unlimited nasty political attacks.

      What is this leftist agenda to which you refer?

      Might that leftist agenda include things like not kicking puppies? How about not destroying the planet? Is that leftist? Or being against genocide ....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Friend of the ABC (bet none know the French pun), 12 Nov 2020 @ 5:31pm

    Do you advocate more Public Participation on "platforms"?

    NO, you don't. Here's your actual position on Free Speech when it comes to mere web-sites HOSTS:

    "And, I think it's fairly important to state that these platforms have their own First Amendment rights, which allow them to deny service to anyone."

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170825/01300738081/nazis-internet-policing-content -free-speech.shtml

    You cannot reconcile that harsh Nazi-like corporate-controlled position with your joy here in statutory protection for Public Participation. CANNOT.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Nov 2020 @ 5:54pm

      Should the law force any interactive web service to host all legally protected speech no matter what, even if the owners of that service don’t want to host certain kinds of speech?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Nov 2020 @ 5:57am

      Re: Do you advocate more Public Participation on "platforms"?

      "You cannot reconcile that harsh Nazi-like corporate-controlled position with your joy here in statutory protection for Public Participation. CANNOT."

      Given that "owning property" and "setting the rules for whom to allow on said property" isn't exactly "Nazi-like" there is absolutely no correlation.
      But, Baghdad Bob, I don't think anyone expects you to reach up in desperation and manage to hit kindergarten-level logic at this point.

      But let's try this again; Moderation on private platforms is not comparable to public participation.

      One takes place on private property, from which the owner can show you the door at will. The other is a reference to governmental activity, at which point the first amendment applies.

      Private property is not the public space. No matter how popular that private property is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Friend of the ABC (bet none know the French pun), 12 Nov 2020 @ 5:31pm

    Where exactly would Public Participation be meaningful

    except on the very "platforms" that you claim can arbitrarily suppress it?

    Especially for those who advocate limiting the power of giant multi-national "platforms" -- recursively -- to control that very speech?

    The vast "social media" corporations have inherent cause to suppress such opposition, combined with the power to do it. That's dangerous for democracy.

    Of course as ardent corporatist, you cannot see any problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Nov 2020 @ 6:04am

      Re: Where exactly would Public Participation be meaningful

      "Where exactly would Public Participation be meaningful"

      In a lawsuit? Well, gee, take a guess. Most SLAPP suits these days with high profiles end up on news media, private platforms, tossed back and forth in the public and ridiculed by private citizenry.

      "The vast "social media" corporations have inherent cause to suppress such opposition..."

      What is this united front you present, Baghdad Bob? If Parlor and Gab tried to suppress an issue you can guarantee Facebook and Twitter will carry it as loud as they can. If Fox trumpets a case, CNN will gainsay it.

      Is this yet another one of your seagues into the murky depths of that conspiracy theory which has the New World Order Pirates and the Illuminati copywrong infringers order all of Big Tech to march in one direction just to have you and Shiva Ayyadurai silenced?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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