Grabowski spoke in support of the Speak Free Act, which is expected to be considered by Congress in early 2017 and allows any person against whom a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP suit) has been filed to make a special motion to dismiss the lawsuit. He also lauded Congress's recent passage of the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 — also known as the “Yelp law” — which removes “gag clauses” that give businesses the power to punish or silence those who honestly criticize their products or services online.
"Sometimes, businesses will threaten frivolous defamation lawsuits as a way to censor criticism,” Grabowski, an Internet law professor at Adelphi University, told the Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Albuquerque Journal and Durango Herald. “The business knows it has no chance of winning the lawsuit, but merely wants to intimidate customers, rivals and others from expressing negative opinions about the business.”
He told The Daily Caller, a popular political blog, the legislation is "a big win for free speech ... “Finally, the law has caught up with technology on this issue.” But, Grabowski notes, “Businesses remain protected against libel ... the legislation specifically states that this new law does not void libel laws.”
He added, in an interview with business website NCR Silver, “keep in mind that just because a review is negative or hurts your feelings or you disagree with it doesn’t make it libelous. Libel cases are very difficult to win and, in most cases, aren’t worth the litigation costs.”
The best way to handle negative reviews is “good, old-fashioned public relations and diplomacy,” Grabowski told Newsday.