Proposed federal law would protect negative online reviews

Customers writing factual but negative reviews of services or products online may obtain relief from contract clauses that forbid disparaging comments. The Consumer Review Freedom Act now advancing in Congress “would void any contract that prohibits, restricts or imposes a penalty on customers who write a review. While the First Amendment applies only to government bans on speech, many feel the muzzling of consumer’s views violates Americans values of unbridled speech. (The Washington Post, January 14, 2016, by Christopher Elliott of Travelers United)

Besides the clause that bans online criticism, companies are using copyright law to silence its critics. These methods intimidate customers who faced with legalese invariably cave in to avoid fines. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, November 3, 2015, by Elliot Harmon and Kit Walsh)