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There has been a lot of attention lately on consumers’ legal rights when reviewing products online. In 2013, we followed the saga of a patient trying to sue his dentist after the medical professional tried to censor negative online reviews. And last week, a similar pro-consumer ruling came down against toy-maker KlearGear after it sued a customer for less-than-positive feedback on RipoffReport.com.
Most notably, we reported on wireless router manufacturer Mediabridge sending a scathing letter that threatened a lawsuit against an individual who wrote a negative product review on Amazon. Our follow-up report asked legal experts about the line between critical and libelous online reviews. Afterward, we even enlisted a defamation attorney to answer readers’ direct questions about online speech rights.
Now, in light of all the increasing attention, the California legislature appears to be taking up the cause of protecting online reviewers’ rights. A recent bill making it illegal for retailers to require customers to waive their rights to express public dissatisfaction in online reviews and on other platforms—often through the use of so-called clickwrap licensing agreements—passed the state assembly last Thursday.
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