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What is 'petitioning'?
 
What are the origins of the right to petition?
 
What does the petition clause in the First Amendment guarantee?
 
Can government entities besides Congress restrict petitioning?
 
What must the government do in response to petitioning?
 
Are SLAPP suits illegal?
 
Is lobbying considered a form of petition?
 
Do anti-SLAPP laws apply to online libel suits?
 

A libel suit, whether involving online or off-line speech, is one of the ways a SLAPP suit could be disguised; anti-SLAPP laws would apply. However, not all libel suits are SLAPP suits. Anti-SLAPP laws would apply only if it were found that a suit was filed in response to or in retaliation for citizen communications with government entities or employees, or for speech to bring attention to an issue of public interest or concern.

In 2001, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter determined that California’s anti-SLAPP statute does apply to cyber-SLAPPs. (See Global Telemedia International Inc. v. Doe et al., 132 F. Supp. 2d 1261 (C.D. Cal. 2001))

In 2003, the Massachusetts Appeals Court cited that state’s anti-SLAPP statute in throwing out a libel lawsuit against a Web site operator whose posted statements suggested a town official was a Nazi. (See MacDonald v. Paton, 57 Mass.App.Ct. 290 (2003) and "State appeals court rules online libel suit was really SLAPP.")

Other state anti-SLAPP statutes may also apply to online libel suits. See "Anti-SLAPP statutes: state summary" for a state-by-state list.

 
 
Do prisoners have access to law libraries and legal advisers as part of the freedom to petition?
 
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Last system update: Friday, April 23, 2010 | 18:57:07
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