For years, we've talked about the importance of anti-SLAPP laws, and the shame that so far, they're on a state-by-state basis -- such that many states have no anti-SLAPP laws, and many others have incredibly weak anti-SLAPP laws. If you're unfamiliar with anti-SLAPP laws, they are laws that protect free speech in a very important way. In our overly litigious society, it's quite easy for someone to file a lawsuit against you just to bully you because they don't like something you said. It's so expensive to defend yourself that many people will often back down, and hide or take down things that they said, just to get the lawsuit dropped. These are considered Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation -- or SLAPPs. What a good anti-SLAPP law does is allow those hit with SLAPP suits to get them dismissed quickly, easily and cheaply -- and often allow them to recoup any legal fees as well. It's a very powerful tool in states like California and Texas to stop lawsuits that are more about censorship than any legitimate purpose.
We've supported the push for a strong federal anti-SLAPP law for years, and despite two attempts to introduce one, it hasn't gotten all that far. The Public Participation Project is an organization that has really led the fight for a federal anti-SLAPP law for years. Unfortunately, even as interest has grown in a federal anti-SLAPP law, the organization recently ran out of its private funding, so it's trying an IndieGoGo campaign to raise some funds, specifically for the purpose of hiring a DC-based legislative director to lead the charge.
I will admit that I am not convinced that crowdfunding is the best way to build an advocacy organization, but it would be nice to be proven wrong on that, especially for an issue as important and pressing as this one. If you believe this is an important issue as well, please consider supporting the campaign.