Support Federal Protection for Blogger's Rights

Urge Congress to Support Anti-SLAPP Legislation to Protect Free Speech, Both Online and Off

Late one evening in June 2012, Matthew Inman, the comic genius behind The Oatmeal, received a knock on his door: it was a hand-delivered letter demanding he pay $20,000 for articles he had written and published on his website.

Matthew hadn't violated the law. Instead, he exercised his Constitutionally protected right to free speech and criticized rival humor website FunnyJunk, which had been republishing comics from The Oatmeal website. FunnyJunk brought in notorious lawyer Charles Carreon in an attempt to bully Inman into a paying huge settlement fees -- or face a lengthy court battle. EFF helped defend Matthew's right to publish critical content online and successfully fended off the bogus legal threat.

Now EFF and the Public Participation Project want to help others who are in the same boat. Join us in asking Congress to pass legislation to protect bloggers like Matthew.

Matthew was the victim of a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). An independent blogger targeted by such a suit may find it impossible to afford the legal counsel necessary to defend her online free speech, and may be forced to pay huge settlement fees, remove articles, or even shut down a blog entirely.

Join EFF and the Public Participation Project in calling on Congress to support the PETITION Act, strong federal anti-SLAPP legislation. The concept is simple: when a blogger faces a legal threat for legitimate online content, she can file a motion to get the case dismissed quickly. If the case is found to be frivolous in court, she won't have to pay the legal fees.

Laws like this already exist in twenty-eight states. Let's pass a federal law to ensure bloggers everywhere have the legal resources necessary to defend their online speech.

Help us stop anti-speech bullies. Tell Congress to protect free expression both online and off through the PETITION Act.