The Long Arm of the Law

Friday, March 07, 2008


Making its way through the New York state legislature is the Libel Terrorism Protection Act. The bill aims to mitigate the impact of libel tourism, which former civil-rights attorney Samuel Abady believes undermines our First Amendment.

Comments [5]

Elaine Decoulos from Massachusetts

Libel tourism is not the only problem with England's libel laws. Several British newspapers owe me a right of reply but will not give me one for fear of being sued for libel by another party. Because of this, I got libeled myself and essentially had to sue for a right of reply. I successfully won a claim against The Express newspaper.

I now have a very credible claim against The Daily Mail in England, but the unfairness of the English courts are causing it to stall. The richest litigant nearly always wins in England because of what they call 'interim costs'. That is, the costs of each hearing are supposed to be paid immediately by the loser of the hearing, regardless of the strength of the whole case. So, manipulative lawyers tactically rake up costs against the less well off litigant to halt the claim. Basically, free speech is only on offer to the rich. I am the plaintiff with an excellent case, but I have two very rich defendants, The Daily Mail and Bruno Schroder of Schroders on The London Stock Exchange, one of the richest men in England, who provided a libelous quote to The Daily Mail.

Jun. 23 2008 06:30 PM

I also am in the process of self-publishing my book.

Mar. 10 2008 09:27 AM

I think it is timely and vital for New York State to step forward and protect the right of New Yorkers for free speech and freedom from intimidation brought up in the above discussion. After all this is the area most affected by terror. There is also recent precedence of State action by California exercising its rightful initiative in the face of Federal reluctance over stem cell and global warming. I am in the process of self-publishing my book, LAUGHING IN THE FACE OF TERRORISM and quite concerned with issues of group interest and power prevailing over freedom of public press and private pen. I appreciate Professor Abady and WNYC for keeping the public informed about the current state of affairs, as defined in the powerful Saudi Arabian suit against an American writer in UK courts and the accompanying withdrawal by Cambridge Press, renowned as the oldest academic press in the world, of its own publication. While at Cambridge, in 1965, I had witnessed the University dis Chicago’s request to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of its Sociology department, with the swish of a fly-whisk remark, “We only celebrate centenaries”. This tyranny of tradition created serious doubts about the nature and practice of the Cambridge tradition. If the revelation of withdrawal of the book by the Cambridge Press under intimidation is true, I think it is a good moment for the State of New York to use its might to join the challenge.

Mar. 09 2008 05:26 PM
Jakes Loverly from NYC

Not to mention the Chicago Whatever.

Mar. 08 2008 09:03 PM
Jack from Chicago

First of all why is the state of NY getting involved in this? This seems like it should be a federal issue. If they pass this, can't the plaintiff just sue in California.

In the Commonwealth apparently the defendant has to prove that what they say is true. I don't believe that anything is worthy of print if the writer is not willing to prove that what they write is true. Imagine the number of trees that would be saved if the New York Times had to live under this condition.

Hiding behind the First Amendment shouldn't allow writers ignore the obligation to be factual.

Mar. 08 2008 05:47 PM

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