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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  July 11, 2015 4:57pm-6:21pm EDT

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we need to walk away from the table. we need to let economic forces take their course in iran. even without the sanctions the iranian regime itself has so many bad policies and so much corruption that over time political opposition will grow. i'm not sure that it is possible to walk this back. >> one more question. do you want to say something? >> very briefly. i testified last month an answer that question. congress can do a number of things. first, they can vote no if this is a bad agreement. they will have that opportunity. that is an important expression of the view of the american public that emanates from congress. i said congress can also try to ensure to the degree that it can that sanctions continue, at
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least those legislative sanctions that have been imposed on iran. i said congress can also establish a team b a technique used inused in the past to monitor implementation of the agreement so that there are outside experts with access to all the intelligence who can confirm compliance or detect and ensure that noncompliance is detected. finally, we need to protect the american people. one of the most important things we can do is continue to emphasize and build our missile defense capabilities. iran is working on an icbm. it will have the capability to have a nuclear weapon. the united states will be held hostage by iran in the future. there were four things that congress could do. >> do you guys have time for one more question? ok.
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right here then. >> working off of two statements , how did we get into this mess and the united states is a guarantee or of stability. -- is seeking to guarantee stability. looking towards a strategy for peace, is there any potential for an understanding that would bring economic stability. we have weaponize to the western financial system. -- we have weaponized the western financial system. >> i'm not the best person to talk about it. >> we can always move on.
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>> i'm not an economist. >> i don't know if they go to your point, but one observation.
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this region continues to be supplying oxygen to the global economy, we are going to be concerned about whether we want to be or not. >> last question, i promise. >> my question is based on two assumptions which i think are reasonable. versus we are going to get a bad deal but the next generation is going to need to do a lot to shore up credibility. assuming those take place, what are your thoughts about the u.s. extending a nuclear security umbrella among the gcc countries as a way to try to stop nuclear proliferation in the region. i'm not about conventional security. thanks.
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>> it's not going to work. they don't want it and they don't believe it. we just passed on the easier part of the equation, which is stopping them from getting a bomb to begin with. we just show we don't have the gumption to go the distance with them on that. the allies have drawn the conclusion we are not willing to go the distance, wire they suddenly going to be happy with our nuclear guarantee? do the saudi's belief we might trade an american city if it came to nuclear war? they won't believe the guarantee that we are giving. they will conclude that the only way they can force us to pay any attention to them is by developing their own nuclear
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weapons. it is very amusing to watch them shift over time. during the 2012 election, the israelis -- the israeli doubts about the obama administration and willing to go the distance with the iranians, the obama administration put their surrogates out. as they came to the conclusion that if they didn't stop the iranians in a convincing way or would be proliferation throughout the region. it is something he regards as the most important aspects of his legacy.
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israelis and jews in america don't worry, president obama is going to take care of this problem because if he knows he doesn't these will proliferate. saudi proliferation in the event of a bad deal was a give him with respect to the administration. now the administration talking point is we are going to give them a nuclear guarantee. >> any closing comments? >> i would say that is a very important question for whoever is elected. the nuclear umbrella is perhaps the most popular proliferation tool that we have. we have over 30 countries friends, and allies who rely on our security guarantee. this administration has done everything it can to undercut
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the credibility of the u.s. nuclear deterrent over time. that is now beginning to change because of russia and president putin's aggression in europe. and the realization that article five is very important and an equal realization that our nuclear forces and capability have to tear your raided in such a point we must act to do this. i think we are beginning to take some of those steps. this is for the next administration to restore the capability and the perception of our resolve. i think there'll not be just proliferation in the middle east but you will find it around the globe. >> i would make two points, one that cometh guarantee boils down the credibility and i don't think this administration has enough credibility left to make
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that powerful tool. it's no coincidence that groupon -- that's iran reportedly stopped many aspects of its nuclear program in 2003. it overthrew saddam hussein to the west of iran and taliban to the 80's. even colonel gadhafi gave up his weapons programs and told the italian prime minister that that was because he expected if he didn't he would suffer the consequences of the bush administration. i think libya disarmament was a victory for the bush administration. haven't it been done it would have led to greater consequences in the libyan civil war. finally, this is an administration that puts a higher priority on engaging its enemies and protecting the
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interests of its friends. if you do that long enough, you are going to find more enemies and less friends. mike: i had in another thought. related to what i said earlier in my remarks i think there is a mistake when thinking about the calculations of these countries and nuclear weapons. to think of it in totally symmetric terms the saudi desire or desire of other states in the region to have a nuclear weapon is not simply to deter the iranians from using their nuclear weapon. the problem with the iranian nuclear program is not that they are going to have this awesome weapon at their disposal.
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it's that the united states becomes more deferential to iran because they have this weapon. there is a way in which there is this arguing ship with the united states about its policy and strategy in the region and the international community in general. it is the fact we would give them the security umbrella and women give them the leverage they would want over the americans, which the iranians have succeeded in gaining. >> i wrote a book on it in 2009 a very little-known book. if everyone were to buy a copy it would triple my sales. it does show there is a prospect for good outcomes.
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what we did is we sailed a ship over to libya, we loaded that ship with hunsicker's -- with hundreds of metric tons of nuclear equipment of everything that was associated with their nuclear program and we loaded it on their long range missiles. that was a good outcome. very clean, very good. they are all different. if we have a strategy, not just diplomacy but diplomacy along with economic sanctions, along with the intelligence tool, along with the other instruments that we can bring to bear in a coherent strategy, we can prevail. >> the panel has done a great job today. they have certainly given us a
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lot to think about. thank you for giving us your valuable time and coming to heritage today to talk about this issue. please join me in thanking them with a round of applause. but first carol is joining us on the phone with the "washington post" their diplomatic correspondent. i want to get the latest from her on what happened yesterday. so carol what happened yesterday? >> well, the short answer is that they had not reached a final agreement. they still have five or six sticking points and difficult issues. they're having trouble resolving. they say they have been pushing the most difficult issues towards the end, kicking the can down the road.
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so these are the most -- this is the most intense time during negotiations. now, they have resumed meeting this morning. been a round of back-to-back meetings with the europeans and the united states and iran. and french foreign minister who left the talks yesterday has already returned. the british foreign secretary is expected to return this afternoon. there are who left the indications that perhaps the russian and chinese foreign ministers may be coming back to. so this certainly has the potential to be a decisive weekend. they have pushed the deadline back. it will expire at the end of monday. but it's entirely possible that they will extend it again if they just have one or two minor points to go. it's a little difficult to predict. host: kick off the sticking points. you said about five. guest: these are the numbers they keep saying well we're getting close to resolving
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them. there really are essentially two main sticking points. one is an embargo on conventional arms. the u.n. embargo. iran wants it lifted. and it has the support of russia in that despite the fact that russia kind of access will inspectors from the international aut middle class energy agency have? will they have access to military sites? iran is very suspicious that this is essentially a ruiz or a
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cover to spy on its military sites. those are really the two main ones. >> as they continue to talk today and over the weekend, how are the folks there, the officials, doing the negotiating? what's their reaction to the articles that we've seen here in the united states that say the talks could just continue indefinitely? the work under this 2013 i want rim agreement that they have, the talks will remain open? guest: well, that certainly is a possibility. there are three scenarios. they come up with a deal, they decide to extend the talks further and come back another time, or they completely collapse. i don't think anyone really wants them to collapse. i think they would much prefer to be able to come up with a deal now. in the past, every time they have had a break when they resume again they're a little bit further back than they were when they left it. so it takes them several days
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or in this case it could even be longer to get back to where they are right now. so i think nobody wants that. they keep saying as long as they have reason to believe that at least some progress is -- is possibly about to be made, they will stay here. host: so carol as we wrap up with you what are we watching for today and tover the weekend? guest: all the foreign ministers. and some indication that they, if they all show up here. that's a suggestion that they have a deal that's imminent.
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>> conservative pollster and author of the selfie vote on the trends and technology, the millennial generation, and how the political parties are flying for this crucial voting bloc. >> if you take a look at where people's eyeballs are going these days it used to be folks were focused on the television. technology has changed so if you walk into a room with not just a 20-year-old but a 60-year-old they are looking at their phone. folks in the political world who want to reach the next generation or reach into the future, understand what the future of political -- political advertising is looking like --
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kandi crush may be fading in popularity but there is always something new popping up. find ways to get your message in front of people. >> sunday night at eight eastern and pacific on c-span's q and a. >> the congressional internet caucus advisory committee held a briefing on internet defamation lawsuits, known as slaps, and there impact on free speech. whether further legislation was necessary from the federal level. from capitol hill this is an hour.
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>> good afternoon, i am a congressional internet caucus advisory committee. we would like to welcome you to our briefing today. this event is hosted in conjunction with the congressional internet caucus and we would like to thank our cochairs and on the senate side. thank you for hosting with us. a little bit of housekeeping when we get started, the #for today is slapptalk. the twitter for an -- the twitter information for all the panelists are on your programs. we have a number of events coming up. we have an event on music streaming and we are announcing more throughout july and into august. i want to introduce our panel.
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we have amy austin. next to her we have laurent can try -- laura crenshaw. we have the senior policy council at the american association for justice and at the end kevin goldberg. feel free to jump in, even if i direct a question that any individual. we have traditionally been an issue that have been filled by journalists. with the rise of yelp, facebook advisor, where people are reviewing businesses, it has come into a situation where individuals are at risk of being sued by those companies or individuals about whom they are writing on this platform. while media platforms may have you prepared for those types of
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suits with insurance or legal teams, individuals are intimidated by these lawsuits, but they are scared of the cost and they are intimidated to take those reviews down. you can imagine other people might think twice about speaking out against this business if they see someone being dragged into lawsuit. we have a chilling effect of freedom of speech online. you might hear that term getting thrown around today a bit. recently we have introduced the speak free act of 2015, which was brought in may and has a number of cosponsors. we will be talking about that while unpacking the legal and procedural issues, but more broadly what this means for freedom of speech online at large.
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i want to remind everyone in the audience the advisory committee and the caucus don't take any positions on issues. i might play devils advocate a little bit. feel free to jump in and ask questions of each other as well. i would like to turn to kevin to talk about why does this matter to people you go kevin -- two people? kevin: among my clients are these old-school subjects. the american society -- and an american vessel -- i'm on the board for a public participation project, which is an organization to raise awareness about the anti-slapp statute and lawsuit. i clearly have a position that
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these are very important protectionist -- of free speech -- important protection of free speech. i have some backup. this shows how ugly justice can be. we are focusing with regards to the internet. that is the biggest change of the last five years. the game has changed with regard where everybody is able to reach out to the entire world. the reason these statutes are important are they level the playing field for your eyes. i've worked primarily with other organizations. it is a train on their time, a drain on their resources, it is emotionally stressed.
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i get stressed out when i have a client threatened with a lawsuit. we'll get that tossed out of court in days. it is not a problem you are going to win. you get a lawsuit with the clock starts ticking with -- unless you have one more generous than me that may not charge you for charging them. lawyers aren't cheap. every minute you spend defending this is a minute you're not working. every dime you spend is a done you're not spending somewhere else. and this is with a frivolous lawsuit mets did a few more than to keep you from criticizing someone else. these statutes, the anti-slapp statutes that exist -- and not
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in every state, not in the federal court system. they give you that ability to knock out the frivolous suit more quickly. in some instances they get your fees paid for. if somebody brings a suit against you, great, you may win and it may get knocked out quickly. they may think twice if they have to pay you for that time or money. this is why it is really important for everybody. >> maybe you would like to talk about your experience. amy: i'm amy austin with city
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paper. it is a local alternative media, there are 113 papers, media companies, like city paper -- like city paper across the united states. we cover local news and culture for cities across the united states. these companies are a part of this association. we wrote a fantastic story. so let's start from the beginning. we wrote this incredible story about the redskins, and it was called the cranky -- let me get the name right.
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it was published right after a big loss to the philadelphia eagles. a monday night football game completely screwed up the game. and then we came out with this piece. he took all his knowledge about dance letter and the redskins and all the ways in which he had wronged the team and the way he had spent his life and wrapped it up to one very funny guide. it stands the test of time. everything in it was accurate. it got normal play at the time.
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when we published it people enjoyed it. we soon after got a letter from dan snyder that famously said and this is sort of a money line this is an important part of the story. our ownership was in flux. he wrote a letter to an investment firm. media organizations were aware they could be sued at any time as part of the business. we are aware they want to get everything absolutely right so they don't get sued. what happened here was initially a letter to the investment firm.
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investment firms do not like to get sued. in the letter it stated, mr. snyder had more than sufficient means to protect his reputation. we presume that defending such litigations would not be a rational strategy for an investment fund such as yours. indeed the cost of litigation would quickly outstrip the value of washington city paper. what he is saying is he could quickly outstrip the value. his intent was to put us out of business. that is why we are here today. there was an anti-slapp lawton d.c. that led presumably for him
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to drop the case against us. there is a classic case of a goliath after a small media organization. what they wanted was an apology which i wasn't willing to give what they wanted was a retraction. there was nothing wrong with the story. they would have been pleased if we had fired the reporter. i don't think i was ever expressly stated. those are the sort of things at play. that's what we expect for defamation suits. now we have individuals.
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maybe you can say how that has changed with the proliferation of online sites. maybe they've never think about what they are writing and the consequence of that. >> i'm the head of public policy at yelp. if you haven't heard of yelp at -- yelp before, yelp is a website that connect people to businesses and places around them. currently 142 million unique visitors. as a part of that process as a mechanism to connect people to local businesses around them, it has also become a site for aggregating reviews and finding ratings to particular places and businesses you might go to.
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i think the cafeteria has a two star rating five or six reviews. businesses in general or places in general, they have a yelp page and ratings that are there. it doesn't just apply for yelp. you have sites like trip advisor, with hotels and things around the world. finding out the best doctors that might be around you. google does it well with google plus results. even facebook as well. if you go to a business page you will see a ratings for businesses. with the rise of social media platform and the internet, there has been the rise of the culture
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yelp has been in front of, which is where individuals have the operability -- in the end -- individuals have the opportunity. they do it for the greater community service. why do i go on yelp and rate a particular business? is not because i'm receiving any sort of compensation. i want to let everyone else on the internet no the experience i have had there. in the past you might ask your neighbor or your friend. now thankfully we have the internet and get this broader more aggregated experience and to make purchasing decisions. along with that, when you have a
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platform on the internet in general, which is this bastion of free speech, of where you can go express your opinion on the first amendment, it is protected by the first amendment. you are occasionally going to have circumstances and times. it may not be a fact-based experience. in general under those circumstances platforms like yelp, trip advisor, amazon and so many others in terms of service, mechanism, and tools that allow those types of statements to either be flagged or for business owners to respond. the way the platforms work, it helps ensure an honest first-hand experience.
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they leave a bad experience. we found 75% of those reviews are three stars or above. you might think on going to go there and really thing that business. of oftentimes it is people who are going to share their experience with the greater internet society. you do have instances where business owners or individuals have not agreed with the statements made about them. amy mentioned it from the standpoint of the city paper. look at platforms like yelp or facebook. obviously it is online, it is digital media. some business owners have decided to go the route of
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threatening or actually attempting to sue people based off of whether it is a yelp review or trip advisor review or stock opinion. the fact of the matter is most of the time these are individuals first-hand experiences. i went here and i experienced this. maybe it was a bad experience. generally it is still your first-hand opinion. you have this group of individuals that sometimes decide to use litigation as a response rather than actually trying to engage in better customer service. we saw this happening and it continues to happen. why we have been a big supporter of anti-slapp legislation is
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wall -- legislation is most these lawsuits, people are actually out there trying to threaten to sue or actually going forward and suing someone and falls under this mantle of a slapp suit, they don't expect to win if it goes to trial. what they are hoping is you would rather remove your yelp review trip advisor review and never speak ill or anything at all about that company again at the expense of tens of thousands of dollars to defend your statement in court. you might think about, is my review of the cafeteria really worth -- say if we were talking about 18th street lounge. is my review of 18th street
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lounge worth tens of thousands of dollars in litigation defending it? post people most of the time, if you are an average citizen, you are going to say no. i would rather take it down then have to go through that whole process. we obviously feel that is wrong because you have a right to be able to share that opinion, your honest fact-based opinion. it is protected by the first amendment. that is the first point. and then our concern about the chilling effect. even if you are not the one that is experiencing that threat directly, you can tell your friends about it or say to someone else, i've have threatened with a lawsuit -- i got threatened with a lawsuit based on a review and left, and poisons the ecosystem as a home -- as a whole. we see this as a bastion of
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freedom of speech, you can go share your opinion, share your experiences. we at yelp particularly worried about slap suits infringing on your ability in that experience. as kevin: -- kevin: we talked about people who might stop and think before they say something and the fact that anti-slapp helps you. what about the times you don't even stop to think? how many of you, you can just not your head silently, have been so angry you turned to twitter and rant. your cable company, your guy who is supposed to be here at five and six.
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you have done it. a lot of it is protected. public relations is probably not going to sue you. but what they did? gennie: i'm here representing the american association justice -- american association for justice. we are the largest trial bar formed in 1947. we are committed to ensuring all people individuals, consumers, families have access to records when we talk about how to define a slap in -- define a slapp -- families have access. when we talk about how to define a slapp, one is lawsuits. they bring it to bully and
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harass and silence someone. and that is wrong. you don't have a right to bring frivolous things to a court of law. the second is usually there is a disparity in resources between the two parties. the person bringing the slap has tremendous resources. they can pay for them. the david in this situation that is a serious economic threat. i think those two points are very important. i stress them because the two point sometimes get lost. i'm going to be presenting someone of an imposing ill -- imposing view with the speak free act. not because i disagreed with that i disagreed with the slap defined in it.
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it applies to a lot of lawsuits that you don't intend it to apply to. such cases as whistleblower lawsuits or civil right lawsuits. by nobody's imagination you would consider it a slap lawsuit . >> we have 28 states and washington with a territory or two at their own anti-slapp legislation, but they are different in every state. we have this new federal legislation. how does it differ from the state legislation? what is the purpose of doing it at the federal level?
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laurent: i will start off a little bit. there was need for federal anti-slapp legislation. given the nature of the internet in general, you can oftentimes have circumstances where you do -- we have different parties and jurisdictions. and then you -- and then the differences in the nature of the state laws that are in place. there are 28 states some are really good like the state of california. they have really good anti-slapp loss. i believe the speak free act. then you have states like new york state -- new york states.
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what you sometimes have been -- what you sometimes have happening is there is forum shopping. basically there is a party where you are looking to make a slap motion based off of a statement that is online, you look to see if you can find the state with an anti-slapp lawsuit. having a federal standard baseline standard for when it comes to first amendment anti-slapp protections we think is really crucial to ensuring that the statements you make online are protected. kevin: a state law that has been
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changed is florida. that has been broadened within the last year. we do have states out there. maryland has a very weak anti-slapp blog right now and virginia has none. ec house one that has been recently held to not apply when you are in a federal court proceeding. dan snyder decides -- i'm going to do in federal court. there is one in washington as well. of now that the federal court -- there is this huge loophole created undercutting the state law. that is why we need this legislation, to fill in the other states that don't have them, and to fill in protection on states that do.
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>> the suit was originally filed in new york and in the case was moved to d.c.. i felt like i had a clump in my hand when the suit was moved to d.c., because there was an anti-slapp law to help protect against these frivolous lawsuits. >> there are 28 states that have a slap law on the book. i think that echoes the point there is not consensus on how they define a slap lawsuit. some only apply to environmental issues. some are broader like california. even california has this language and its statute that there has to be an expression made in furthering your constitutional right and protection of free speech. that language is notably absent in the be free act -- in the speak free act.
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something i think is extraordinary in the speak react, it actually -- speak free act, it actually has a provision to remove to federal court. that is extraordinary to me. it is one thing to have it apply to -- to have a diversity of citizenship. it is quite another to tell states we are taking these cases out of your state court and putting it in federal court because we do not trust your judgment. i think when we talk about this issue, it is important to remember the constitution is based on a system of federalism. as forever preserved in our 10th amendment. all the states have different slap statutes. some have -- some have ruled their slapp statutes to be unconstitutional. what happens to those if you
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passed these broad federal bills if you move these cases to federal court? they are preempted, because you can no longer -- there is longer a state statute that applies to them. that is very troubling to us. whether it is a product liability or medical malpractice or defamation, that all exists because of state law. it is a state cause of action. the speak free act changes fast. it is something that belongs in a federal court. there is this problem when you look at what states are doing and what they decided to do what are the unintended consequences of a ferry brought federal bill? that is what our organization
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comes in with opposition. we think there significant concerns apply to the individuals, not the goliath bringing frivolous lawsuits, but the david in a whistleblower action, and a civil rights action. those kinds of cases are the ones we want to help protect and preserve. i know a lot of people will want to comment. laurent: i think we fundamentally differ already with regards to, she describes it as being overly broad. a particular limitations whether it is dealing with commercial parties, dealing with statements made about governmental actors. and those made about environmental and other areas.
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we think it is narrowly tailored -- when talking about the question what is a slap suit, there are a lot of things that could be deemed were considered slap suits, but that is because it comes back to one particular area we were talking about, and that is the constitution and your first amendment right to speak and be protected with regards to what you say. if you are sharing your opinion and a matter i'm not going to go down the road of what is a defamation. what we're talking about here is whether or not you have in a -- you have an area that has an up-to-date law on the books -- anti-slapp laws haven't kept pace with the speed of the internet.
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even in those 28 states there are differences. the real question is we're not talking about those claims being immediately move federal court. it would allow for removal. it would be basically saying you are in california, california has a great anti-slapp law on the books. why would you file a claim on the federal court? if you are in arkansas, where there isn't an anti-slapp law, but you're being hit with something on his face, a slap suit, this would allow for the opportunity to remove the answer that question. would it be something that is on it ace when you are filing your pleading and you make this
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motion for an expedited process. you can figure that out and throw it out on that case or at least on that point. because of the fact that a slap suit was filed against you and you have to spend thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees, then half -- than have the other party pay that off, so you're not left with your speech being threatened and your time being taken away, with tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys ease afterwards. that is why we support the speak free act and don't figure it is overly broad. we think -- it is a meritless -- a meritless lawsuit that infringes on your right to free speech. a lot of speech happens on the internet. it should receive the same
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protections as someone like amy or the city paper received because of what they did kevin: i want to follow up with the effect -- what they did. kevin: allen to follow up with the act of the free speech act. -- i want to follow up with the effect of the free speech act. i file my motion to dismiss and then this all goes away -- if i can show my right is specifically -- the bill allows me as a defendant to file a special moment. if i made an oral or written statement in connection with an official proceeding about a matter of public's death of public concern, that is very similar to the californian law where you talk about a statement made in inference to the right of the petition.
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i show that i have made this type of statement. that is not the end of the case. i don't win there. the plaintiff gets his bite at the apple. differences their standard has risen. they have to show the laws in question, they have to show the claims likely to succeed. the point is they are not kicked out of court. this is important to remember. if i am a defendant and i make a statement and i would otherwise back down, that is a big burden. we do this all the time in first amendment lawsuits.
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new york times versus sullivan. with all about shifting the balance from one side to the other, recognizing that certain truths -- we want the truth to come out and we would inevitably hear certain fonts is. we want to keep all the falsehood out, so we are going to ineffective the truth out. jesse bang the question is -- jennie: the question is are you going to have to fight these slaps. the use of a slapp statutes gone bad -- i'm sure people have seen the hbo documentary going clear. there was a woman featured in the documentary. she had a lawsuit against church of scientology.
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this is what happened. she brought a legitimate harassments busted against the church of scientology. the church of scientology used texas is anti-slapp statute to cripple her case. in cases where they can meet this higher burden of proving that she has a legitimate case, the judge agreed with her. her case has been on appeal for over a year and a half now. just the basic elements of building her factual case. not only would you have that burden but the case could have been removed. it would have given the church of scientology the right to remove that case to federal court. because of the overturning of our federal court. yes it is shifting the burden. that is the point to get at to
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say you shouldn't strengthen a constitutional right for some by violating the constitutional rights of others. there's statute is unconstitutional. a great code. -- great". -- a great quote. to prevent litigants from using the judicial process filing frivolous lawsuits. the constitutional conundrum that the slap statute creates is it seeks to protect one of citizens constitutional rights by cutting off another group's constitutional rights of petition and jury trial. i am submitting to you it was
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true for congress as much as it was true or washington area congress cannot pass a law that protects one groups constitutional rights at the expense of another. you are right to a civil jury trial. kevin: i.e. saying you think the free speech act would be unconstitutional? jennie: yes, we believe so. kevin: i recognize it as a broad bill. there is no doubt about it. the issue you are making with regards to the appeals is one of interlocking tory appeal -- of interlocking appeal, and that is when a case is resolved, the ability to go to a court when
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the key issue is resolved. i can immediately go to court. i am a defendant if i have to then immediately go to discovery, even though i think the key first amendment issue of my having been given a slapp is the wrong way. it is a very different position to be end to have to be reacting versus making the choice yourself, saying i'm going to go to court. amy: i like to bring this back to the internet, wherein amy's case you knew who is getting sued. you also have people hiding behind usernames or some kind of anonymous screen.
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to those people have the right to anonymity? laurent: with regards to washington state specifically, you have to look at that decision by the state supreme court and the washington state microcosm. they were responding specifically to the washington state constitution, and/or issues of concern with regards to how the bill had been drafted to conforming to washington state constitution. we disagree on the point of that applying on the federal level. we don't think they're are the same concerns that are raised. with regards to infringing on the rights of individuals to make these types of positions and claims, let's put this morning to context.
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if you are suing someone for defamation, generally speaking you are a business of some kind or a public figure. these are the types of people that are filing the suit. is it eliminating their ability to file these types of suits? we have established that the spill raises certain procedural processes in regard to the substantive question of whether or not you are filing the person's first amendment right. at the end of the day we are talking about business as a resource that is available to intimidate you with a meritless lawsuit. on the other end here, i have 12 people or so on this page. for example a woman from chicago
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who wrote a review on a windows sheet company anti-slapp -- and got a -- on a windows sheet company and got a slapp lawsuit against >> what do these people have in common g? >> in dealings with an auto company. you can have suits that deal with the whole breadth of different issues and things. ultimately it comes back to that first amendment question of if you're beaches being infringed upon. the to the second question yelp
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fundamentally believes that individuals have the right to anonymity in regards to statements or experiences that they make about a particular person thing, or business, especially on the internet. where this really comes in to play -- let's say you had a bad experience with a doctor -- and you had a bad experience, and you want to share that experience but obviously it is about a sensitive matter in an area of medicine so you don't necessarily want to attach your name to it. yelp and others allow you to have that anonymity.
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the bill allows us to protect that anonymity, and then, at the very least, the party that originally filed suit, with have to take the steps of presenting some sort of evidence to actually show that it is necessary to you -- necessary to breach anonymity. we dealt with a case in virginia that was along these lines where a carpet cleaning company filed a motion for yelp to breach the anonymity of seven individuals who posted negative reviews about their business. we fought it. honestly we actually lost the first two times in virginia because of the quirkiness of virginia law. it comes back to the laws not being up to date within the state, and basically threatening the anonymity of these
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individuals, who we knew where real. i ended up meeting one of them outside of the job randomly. these were real first-hand experiences. but we had to take it to the supreme court in virginia. ultimately we did not win on substantive grounds. we won on venue. basically the court saying that the company should have filed a claim in california, because we are a california-based company. what we like about the speak free act is that it still allows us to protect the anonymity of users. it still does allow for the business -- if they are able to provide evidence, to get access to that person's information but least there is a process in place that provides greater protections.
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>> i want to echo one statement. this idea of david versus goliath, and that these suits are meritless. nothing limits the act to lawsuits. we are talking about anonymous reviews now. i am guessing the part of the act that speaks to that would be the motion to cross. we do not have any opposition to that. that is clear. we were concerned about mostly the scope of this bill, how it is designed to get rid of these lawsuits. the scope is so broad that you are capturing cases that you are not meaning to.
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>> we promise to get you out quickly. we have 10 more minutes. we can open it up to questions that anyone has. yes, and the white jacket. -- yes in the white jacket. >> can you give us some -- can you quantify how many lawsuits there are? have they increased? >> i have some statistics only for california, and i am going to admit right now, i will read
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through my notes. between 2005 and 2010 the parties reported a total throughout california or roughly 481 missions per year. an appeal was filed only in 375 of those cases. in nearly 90% of the cases no anti-slap appeal was filed. given that there were about 6.2 million civil fightings and superior courts during that. -- during that time, the anti-slaps constitute about 0.46% of all. that is just california. >> i think that is a really good question too. this bill is a federal bill. we don't know anything about how
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many have been filed in other states and in federal court. i think it is a good question to ask before we passed legislation that is going to circumvent the rules, and also expand the jurisdiction of federal court. >> one thing to keep in mind is that slap that is filed in court and that is moving forward, that is generally the last step of the process that we are talking about here. it is not that you immediately say you are going to file a suit and then file it against the person who wrote a review or made a statement online. you generally let it linger, and then have your attorney go through this intimidation process to try to get the statement either retracted, or get the review removed before you actually filed in federal court. when you look at that number the number is not really indicative of the overall threat.
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>> you knew -- you know when this world that is constantly changing, i find that it is very critical to our society, the ability to speak freely. and for individuals to have opinions, and to not be threatened. that chilling affect that you can imagine taking place fairly quickly, unless we come together and say you are not allowed to threaten to sue me because i wrote about your carpet company. those seven individuals probably are not going to be posting many more reviews. so i think that we have an opportunity now to take a look at communication and allow people to their opinion. not only media organizations, but individuals. and that is where i see the import of what we are looking at to pass this.
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>> also, to provide a little bit of context, because we are having, i think, a very good and thoughtful conversation about anti-slapp suits in general and also about the speak free act. in regards to the speak free act in particular, there was recently a letter that was sent to congress to the judiciary committee, that had about 35 different organizations and groups in support. these are folks obviously like yelp the r street institute, freedom works, these are folks on both the left and the rights, and even the national association of broadcasters, that said they support the speak free act, and they want the bill to move forward in congress.
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that is just specifically in regards to the speak free act. on the issue of anti-slapp legislation, there are even more companies that have said they support the legislation, and even on the state level as well, they have been promoting it. so when you look at this bill and this issue, it is really one that has united a lot of groups that traditionally have been on the opposite sides of the debate here in congress. >> i want to reiterate that point as well. on the issue of supporting slap legislation, many states affiliates have actually supported slap legislation at the state level. i don't want my testimony to be that there is no solution, i think it is that the devil is in the details.
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you are getting into a very careful balance of constitutional rights here in this discussion is worthy and very important to have a lot of creative thinking. any solutions should be carefully practiced. >> this question is primarily for kevin, but anyone can feel free to answer. do you think adopting the english rule by itself would deter enough companies from filing the slap lawsuits? >> i am sure it would be a deterrent, but i also think it would be an overbroad solution to the problem. it should be clear now that we don't -- we agree on the concept, we don't agree on the details. one of the differences we have is that i don't think this is
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overbroad. i don't think this goes too far beyond slap suits. i'm sure that will happen. it will be unfortunate. i do think that on the whole, we would look to preserve free speech rights with a broad speak free act. thereby protecting more people -- there has clearly been a number of people that have been subjected to slap suits. you have given one example. i know you have a lot. we could come back with our own. it goes back to the balancing that you have to come into. i think we just are on different sides of the tilt. but i do think adopting full-scale english will for me would be too far. >> i want to chime in really quickly. i think it is important.
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you mentioned in texas the church of scientology and then filing an anti-slap motion and having it tied up at the appellate level of discovery. it is my understanding that with the speak free act, that there is actually language in the bill that if you are the defendant and you frivolously file and anti-slapp motion, that you would still be forced to pay some sort of fee or restitution -- >> it does allow the judge to impose that. now i see what you are saying. it does exist in the speak free act. it's not that that is always going to be the full attorney fee. but it does create that right which is extremely valuable.
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probably more valuable as a deterrent. >> i think this is a good point when you talk about is a good enough to deter true abusers of the court system. the problem is that it deters the davids. it does not deter the goliaths. it does have a chilling effect on david. particularly those that are presenting novel theories. there was a time in our country when brown versus board of education was a novel. i think imposing that kind of english rule on our american system would have a significant chilling affect on all litigants. we had something similar to that in the federal rules.
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it created a ton of side litigation. someone would file a motion and then you would immediately file a motion in response to their bulletin sanction motion. it got out of hand. the federal judges actually a posted and asked congress to change it back to the original american rule. i think that is an excellent question. it is the threat of you having to pay another attorney's fees is significant. but it is significant to the davids and not the goliaths. the david's are people who really don't have the resources. >> speaking of goliaths i want to give one more example.
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it goes to the heart of the legislation. it involves the state of nevada. nevada, for about a year and a half, has had a really good anti-slapp law on the books. a resident of new botta, and hopefully she does not listen to this or hear this -- a resident of nevada. steve wynn lost a lawsuit in california around march fourth, based off of anti-slapp legislation. about three weeks later, in the state of nevada there was a bill introduced in the state legislature to gut the anti-slapp law that nevada had had on the books for less than two years.
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who was it supported by fully? it was backed by wynn industries. this bill was introduced, and less than three weeks afterwards it passed the senate. it was over in the nevada house. companies like yelp were scrambling. a lot of first amendment freedom of speech groups were scrambling in the states to try to help slow this process and stop what was otherwise going to be a bill that was going to gut the rights of nobody in to speak -- the rights of nevada citizens to speak freely. it kind of goes to the point of when you -- when you are talking about goliaths and you have a billionaire casino mogul who works to get the law of the state changed in order to
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protect the interests of people like him, it goes to say why you need a federal minimum standard here is that is what the speak free act does. >> i want to reframe this david versus goliath discussion in a different way, and bring us back to where we started. you talked about it in terms of will the attorneys fees be a deterrent to the goliaths bringing a suit. no. the issue is saying the cost of legislation will be -- in the face of having to pay the litigation fees, guess what? if they believe they have a merited case and they are going to win, then they are willing to
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go to court and fight. that is the way you have to look at it. that the penalty -- the deterrent effect is that you're hitting them is not going to make an impact at all. >> thank you. a really great discussion here. for more information the information is on the program. we encourage you to look into it further. [applause] >> here are some of our featured programs this weekend on the c-span network.
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we talk about the impact of harper lee's book to kill a mockingbird. we will also re-aired these programs sunday evening beginning at 6:30 eastern. radio talkshow host hugh hewitt. congressional mechanization -- commemoration and remarks by members of congress. gop presidential candidate carly fiorina. on american history tv on c-span3, tonight at 8:00 p.m. at college professor. -- a college professor. sunday


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