Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Your Rights Online

US Senate Passes 'Libel Tourism' Bill 467

Posted by kdawson
from the words-you-never-heard-in-the-bible dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "AFP reports that the US Senate has passed (by a 'unanimous consent' voice vote) a bill that prevents US federal courts from recognizing or enforcing a foreign judgment for defamation that is inconsistent with the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech. If the bill becomes law it will shield US journalists, authors, and publishers from 'libel tourists' who file suit in countries where they expect to get the most favorable ruling. 'While we cannot legislate changes to foreign law that are chilling protected speech in our country, we can ensure that our courts do not become a tool to uphold foreign libel judgments that undermine American First Amendment or due process rights,' said Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy. Backers of the bill have cited England, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore as places where weak libel safeguards attract lawsuits that unfairly harm US journalists, writers, and publishers. The popular legislation is headed to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve it. 'This bill is a needed first step to ensure that weak free-speech protections and abusive legal practices in foreign countries do not prevent Americans from fully exercising their constitutional right to speak and debate freely,' said Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on Leahy's committee."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Senate Passes 'Libel Tourism' Bill

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Confused (Score:5, Informative)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @08:39AM (#32976308) Journal

    A bill that passed the senate that reinforces some portion of our individual liberties. I'm having trouble seeing where the corporate benefit is here.

    I know you're being facetious, but most magazines, radio stations & tv stations are owned by corporations, they can't just have foreigners suing them for their dramatic, yet wildly inaccurate and poorly researched news stories.

  • by fnj (64210) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:08AM (#32976604)

    Admirable to ask this question. Vigilance is always required.

    In the case of this bill, the text appears to be straightforward, well targeted, reasonably concise, and free from extraneous tack-ons.

    Check it out: Full text of bill at Thomas [loc.gov]

    I hope that URL will last, but the cgi looks suspiciously transient. If it stops working, just google "hr 2765 text".

  • by Dominic (3849) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:18AM (#32976742) Homepage

    Well, *you* might say that, but your government wouldn't. The US doesn't let other countries judge its citizens nearly as easily. Take, for example, the refusal of the US to hand over Robert Seldon Lady, guilty of kidnap and torture (who was given 8 years in his absense). Or what about Captain Richard J. Ashby, who is one of four pilots responsible for the deaths of 20 people in Italy (and destroying the evidence)?

    These are far worse crimes, and the US refused to hand them over to other countries for trial. They were also black-and-white crimes, whereas what McKinnon did was not even serious enough for prison time here, where he 'committed' it. That's what gets people - the double standards.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by SydShamino (547793) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:23AM (#32976782)

    You are applying the modern onset of puberty to the "earliest age ever" that Catholicism allowed marriage? What kind of logic is that?

    The onset of puberty has been earlier and earlier over the last 200 years. In the early 1800s it started (for girls) between the ages of 15-17, much older than your cited 12.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pubescence#Historical_shift [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by advocate_one (662832) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:41AM (#32976998)

    You're exaggerating. As far as I know not a single shot has been fired anywhere on earth because of a picture. There was even a draw-prophet-Mohammed-day a while ago to show those fools that us Western people like to sometimes insult others... so loads of pictures were drawn and posted online and not one bomb went off anywhere.

    excuse me... but a madman armed with an axe and knife breaking into your house intent on killing you for having drawn a cartoon is not something to ignore... see here [nwsource.com]

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Informative)

    by rjiy (1739274) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:46AM (#32977056)

    Are you kidding? No shots yet, but how about an attempted stabbing with an axe and another plot to assassinate let alone bounties and death threats?

    http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/57865,news-comment,news-politics,muslim-extremists-attack-on-danish-cartoonist-is-great-pr-for-panic-rooms [thefirstpost.co.uk]
    http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0309/waterford.html [www.rte.ie]

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:51AM (#32977124)

    Don't forget the change in life expectancy.

    Classical Greece and Rome only had a life expectancy of 28 years. Medieval Britain had a life expectancy of 30. Early 20th Century had a life expectancy of 30-45 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy [wikipedia.org]

    The average life expectancy in Colonial America was under 25 years in the Virginia colony,[18] and in New England about 40% of children failed to reach adulthood.

    So in order to marry, have children and live long enough to care for them, you would have to marry at an early age of around 14 through 16. This probably the reasoning behind the NC state law mentioned earlier in this thread.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by jarbrewer (1254662) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @10:15AM (#32977424)
    Theo Van Gogh [wikipedia.org] might disagree.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Yuuki Dasu (1416345) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @10:21AM (#32977488)

    Don't forget the change in life expectancy.

    Classical Greece and Rome only had a life expectancy of 28 years. Medieval Britain had a life expectancy of 30. Early 20th Century had a life expectancy of 30-45 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy [wikipedia.org]

    The average life expectancy in Colonial America was under 25 years in the Virginia colony,[18] and in New England about 40% of children failed to reach adulthood.

    So in order to marry, have children and live long enough to care for them, you would have to marry at an early age of around 14 through 16. This probably the reasoning behind the NC state law mentioned earlier in this thread.

    From the same article [wikipedia.org], under "Misconceptions":

    A popular misconception about life expectancy is that people living beyond the staged age was unusual.

    ...

    This ignores the fact that life expectancy changes depending on age and the one often presented is the "at birth" number. For example, a Roman Life Expectancy table at the University of Texas shows that at birth the life expectancy was 25 but if one lived to the age of 5 one's life expectancy jumped to 48.

    Life expectancy rates throughout history look weak because a huge proportion of children never lived to adulthood. When half your population dies by age 5 and the other half lives to 45, you get a life expectancy of around 25. I can't think of any time period where people who lived through childhood couldn't presume to live long enough to raise a family without having to get started at 14.

  • by orzetto (545509) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @12:20PM (#32979108)

    I've no idea what you are talking about in the Knox case. There was a trial, the atmosphere in the Italian media was not tense at all, no one assumed really anything about her being guilty or innocent. The case was complicated and there were plenty of bogeymen.

    She was found guilty of murder because she participated in it after being on drugs and having, probably, her judgement impaired.

    At the very least, it is beyond discussion that she knowingly accused an innocent man, token nigger Patrick Lumumba. Because the bad guy is always a black male, not a white girl.

    You are rooting for Knox the way you would be rooting for a football team. She's from your tribe and you want her to win. This is retarded: it's a case about a murder, it's about evidence, and if she does not like the verdict she can ask for an appeal, which she did.

    Keep in mind that the victim was British and the accomplice was an Italian, Knox' boyfriend. If anything, Italian media and public opinion should have been skewed towards the defendants.

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @12:47PM (#32979456) Homepage
    And that assessment is based on what, exactly? The fact that the court convicted an American based on overwhelming evidence of her guilt?

    Fabrication of evidence? Absence of evidence? Or in your country is it allowed for a prosecutor to state on the record that there was a "ritual killing" despite no evidence of such? After a troubled drifter who actually confessed to being at the crime scene, a confession that was supported by actual physical evidence, was already convicted? Where is the "overwhelming evidence of her guilt"? And the nationality of the person convicted has nothing to do with my repulsion at the Italian justice system. I feel the same anger at anyone who is railroaded by a dysfunctional and criminally incompetent justice system.

The only difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman is that the car salesman knows he's lying.

Working...