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The Internet Businesses Government Your Rights Online

California Bill Would Safeguard Consumers' Rights To Criticize Firms Online 160

An anonymous reader writes in with news about a California bill that aims to protect online reviewers’ rights."The proposed law appears to take aim at online licensing agreements that consumers often enter into with companies when they click through the many boilerplate terms and conditions of various online services. Buried deep in the small print of a number of these contacts are provisions stating that consumers agree not to write negative reviews about the service provider. 'If merchants think that our First Amendment free speech rights need to be curtailed, they should say so upfront and in plain language,' Pérez explained of the impetus for his bill, as reported by the Times."
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California Bill Would Safeguard Consumers' Rights To Criticize Firms Online

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  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @04:14PM (#47040813) Homepage Journal

    Actually, there's certainly a case to be made that sense contracts are enforced by law, prohibitions are what laws can contain are essentially prohibitions are contracts.

    For example, it's well understood that the 13th amendment prevents you from signing yourself away as a slave.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2014 @04:16PM (#47040829)

    The problem is that EULAs shouldn't be able to over-ride constitutional rights, especially as a means of trying to cover up a bad product. If you buy a product and it is bad - doesn't work as advertised, poor quality, or whatever - you have the First Amendment right to, for instance, open up a personal blog and write a review of the product. What they're trying to do is quash bad reviews before they can pop up.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @04:56PM (#47041207) Journal

    lol.. It's not quite that simple. The 13th amendment makes slavery and/or involuntary servitude illegal in the US and jurisdictions the US controls and grants congress the power to enforce it. Theoretically, you can sign yourself away as a slave in a foreign land- if it wasn't for the US government maintaining a claim of jurisdiction over US citizens wherever they go. (granted this jurisdictions is somewhat limited)

    On the other hand, the first amendment says congress shall make no laws abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    In this case, it is pretty clear what the intent was. Congress is not to make any laws. It doesn't say that you cannot contract your speech rights away with a third party or that the loss of free speech in any way is prohibited.

    Now I know I left the religious freedoms portion off and I did that because it gets ignored quite a bit under the guise of separation of church and state which is no where in the first amendment.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle