Consumer Review Freedom Act aims to void non-disparaging clauses in contracts

Clicking “accept” has become a mundane practice in the 21st century. It’s a right of online passage, a mere prerequisite for surfing the web.

But do you know what you agree to when you habitually click accept? More than common forum shopping or arbitration clauses, you may be giving up your right to speak freely or own intellectual property. Often these clauses attempt to muzzle users looking to post online reviews of services.

The Consumer Review Freedom Act (CRFA)(S.2044, H.R.2110) seeks to eliminate these freedom-sucking terms from common contracts, both on and offline. The bill would forbid non-disparagement clauses in form contracts.

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CRFA would void clauses that:

  1. Restricts the customer’s ability to post a review of the vendor,
  2. Imposes a fee against customers for leaving negative reviews, or
  3. Transfers any intellectual property rights in a review to the vendor.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on the bill Nov. 4.

For more on CRFA, visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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