The explosion of online platforms enabling public participation — blogs, comment sections, review websites, and social media, among others — has let millions of individuals share opinions and exercise their freedom of speech online. However, such public declarations can also expose contributors to retaliation by the subjects of their commentary under the guise of defamation or libel suits.
Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) are lawsuits that intend to censor and silence critics by intimidating them with the prospect of defending an expensive lawsuit. Twenty-eight states have enacted anti-SLAPP statutes to speed the process of dismissing of such lawsuits, but there is currently no federal anti-SLAPP legislation.
Our expert panel will discuss the current state of SLAPP legislation including the introduction of the SPEAK FREE Act of 2015, and what can be done to protect public participation and freedom of speech online.
Amy Austin, Publisher Emeritus, Washington City Paper (Bio)
Miranda Bogen, Policy Fellow, Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (Bio) moderator
Laurent Crenshaw, Head of Federal Public Policy, Yelp (Bio)
Kevin Goldberg, Attorney, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth (Bio)
Jennie Rasmussen, Senior Policy Counsel, American Association for Justice
Last Monday’s Congressional briefing on the sharing economy capped off our most productive and influential year in the 18 years since the inception of the Congressional Internet Caucus (and we said that in 2013)! We have detailed below the remarkable breadth, timeliness, and impact of Internet policy briefings and events hosted by the NetCaucus AC in 2014. Here is a summary of this remarkable accomplishment.
At the end of 2014 we have hosted 60% more programs than 2013 for a total of 16 events. This rivals the number of hearings that some committees hold. All of our events have been listed below and can be viewed on our events page here.
Video and C-SPAN Coverage:
Remarkably nearly 50% of our 2014 Congressional briefings have yielded C-SPAN coverage. That coverage exponentially increases our viewing audience not only within the Capitol Complex but also across America. The amount of C-SPAN coverage is a testament to the credibility and the content of our program (here is an example). Also, together with C-SPAN coverage we have been able to webcast over 50% of our events this year.
24 Hours / 48 Hours / 75 Hours – Breaking News Briefings
In 2014, we achieved an unprecedented level of timeliness in our Congressional briefings. For instance, we hosted a briefing within 75 hours of the DC Circuit Court’s decision to strike down much of the FCC’s Open Internet Rules. Within 48 hours, we hosted a briefing on the Supreme Court’s Aereo decision. We also hosted a briefing within 24 hours of the FCC releasing its proposed Net Neutrality rules and its Spectrum order.
Our events are extremely well attended by our target audience – Congressional and government policy staff. On Twitter, you can find photos of our event audiences and lively event hashtag conversations.
Revived Speakers Series
This year we revived the historically successful Internet Caucus Speakers Series. That program, which provided an open forum within the Capitol Complex for executives and luminaries, was halted in 2007. In 2014 we hosted two terrific speakers — famous Internet researcher danah boyd and Zillow.com CEO Spencer Rascoff. Both presentations were extremely successful and we would like to further revive this program in 2015.