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CEA Applauds Congressional Action to Protect Free Speech Online

Arlington, VA – May 14, 2015 – 
The following statement is attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, regarding the SPEAK FREE Act, legislation which provides an expedited process to dismiss lawsuits that are filed for the purpose of silencing legal speech and allows victims of SLAPPs to recoup legal fees spent to fight frivolous claims, introduced by Reps. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) to protect Americans’ right to free speech online:
 
“We commend Representatives Farenthold, Eshoo, Issa, Polis and Franks for addressing the growing threats to the First Amendment rights of American consumers – specifically, SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) used to silence users of online review sites. The threat of these lawsuits may also deter American innovation – why start an online review service, if you and your users can be threatened and sued simply for sharing your opinions?
 
“Whether it’s a consumer threatened for writing an honest review on Yelp or a journalist sued after publishing a negative article, SLAPPs use fear to stifle important public debate and diminish civic participation. The SPEAK FREE Act will limit the ability of bad actors to sue consumers for voicing their own, honest opinions via online review sites or other public forums.

“The SPEAK FREE Act creates a national backstop for consumers – without superseding state law – and is a critical step forward in the fight to protect free speech online, ensuring Americans have the ability to freely express themselves without the threat of legal retribution. We urge Congress to stand up for honest expression online and enthusiastically support this legislation.”
 
About the Consumer Technology Assocation

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $286 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at CE.org, InnovationMovement.com and through social media.                       

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