The AAP Pushes For Expansion Of "Libel Tourism" Legislation
By Publishers Weekly | by Jim Milliot
Monday, June 15th, 2009 @ 12:48AM
The Association of American Publishers sent a letter to Congress last week expressing the associationﾒs concern that current legislation designed to protect authors and publishers against libel tourism “does not go far enough.” According to the letter, the new bill, H.R. 2765, fails to provide publishers and authors with a cause of action to permit them to countersue in American courts. “There has got to be a way American authors can go back into court and say no matter what a foreign court rules, the judgment is not enforceable in the United States,” said AAP spokesperson Judy Platt. Libel tourism refers to the practice of plaintiffs suing American authors and publishers in foreign courts where libel is easier to prove than in the U.S.
Congress has introduced several measures to combat the problem, but H.R. 2765, which was reported out of the Judiciary Committee last week, does not have the support of the AAP because it doesn’t give publishers and authors enough recourse to fight a libel judgment in an overseas court, Platt said. “We need a bill with some teeth in it,” Platt said. The AAP prefers a house bill introduced by Rep. Peter King that does contain provisions giving authors and publishers a cause of action to countersue, as does a Senate bill introduced by Sens. Arlen Specter and Joe Lieberman. “We hope that serious and thoughtful attention will be given to adding such a cause of action and other aspects of our preferred approach to H.R. 2765 before the bill is considered in the full House,” the AAP wrote in the letter signed by Allan Adler, v-p for government and legal affairs.