“Yelp Bill” in Effect: Now You Can Fearlessly Write That Negative Review

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law into effect that some are calling a boost to freedom of speech, while others have just dubbed it the "Yelp Bill."

Assembly Bill 2365 was nicknamed the Yelp Bill because it prevents businesses from retaliating against consumers and patrons who write negative reviews -- such as those found at the user-generated review site Yelp, ReadWriteWeb reported. Brown signed the bill into law on Tuesday.

Its author, Assembly Speaker John Perez, said in a statement, "Many (businesses) are resorting to contractual clauses that essentially gag their review-posting customers. In some cases, corporations take the legal position that a consumer can give up their right to an opinion simply by logging onto a commercial site, or 'liking' a business’ Facebook page." Perez said that the bill would make these anti-disparagement clauses unlawful because it infringes on free speech. From the bill:

This bill would prohibit a contract or proposed contract for the sale or lease of consumer goods or services from including a provision waiving the consumer’s right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or its employees or agents, or concerning the goods or services. The bill would make it unlawful to threaten or to seek to enforce, a provision made unlawful under the bill, or to otherwise penalize a consumer for making any statement protected under the bill.

Businesses who break the law could face up to $10,000 in fines, not to mention way more negative reviews on Yelp.

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