Congress passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act, Pub. Law 114-258, which prohibits and makes invalid, as a matter of public policy, contracts which prohibit or restrict the ability of a party to review, assess performance, or provide a similar analysis of goods, services, or conduct provided by another person or business. The new law only relates to “form” contracts which are imposed “without a meaningful opportunity for such individual to negotiate.” Consumer Review Fairness Act, Pub. Law 114-258. (Available Here).
Further, the Consumer Review Fairness Act voids any fee or penalty imposed on a person as a result of providing the critical review or assessment. Also in form contracts, the transfer of intellectual property rights of the reviewer’s comments, review, or content, to the party suppling the goods or services, are void.
Excluded from the Consumer Review Fairness Act are:
(a) any duty of confidentiality imposed by law;
(b) any civil cause of action for defamation, libel, or slander;
(c) any party’s right to remove or refuse to display publicly on an Internet website or webpage owned, operated, or controlled by the party supplying the goods or services, any review or assessment that – “(i) contains the personal information or likeness of another person, or is libelous, harassing, abusive, obscene, vulgar, sexually explicit, or is inappropriate with respect to race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or other intrinsic characteristic; (ii) is unrelated to the goods or services offered by or available at such party’s Internet website or webpage; or (iii) is clearly false or misleading;
(d) “a party’s right to establish terms and conditions with respect to the creation of photographs or video of such party’s property when those photographs or video are created by an employee or independent contractor of a commercial entity and solely intended for commercial purposes by that entity.”
(e) trade secrets or commercial or financial information obtained from the person reviewing or making the assessment which are considered privileged or confidential;
(f) personnel and medical files and similar information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
(g) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
(h) content that is unlawful or otherwise meets the requirements of paragraph (c) above; or
(i) content that contains any computer viruses, worms, or other potentially damaging computer code, processes, programs, applications, or files.