Senator John Thune sponsored the Consumer Review Freedom Act of 2015 which passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent a few weeks ago. Per the Congressional Research Service (CRS):
This bill makes a provision of a form contract void from the inception if it:(1) prohibits or restricts an individual who is a party to such a contract from engaging in written, verbal, or pictorial reviews, or other similar performance assessments or analyses of, the products, services, or conduct of a person that is also a party to the contract;(2) imposes penalties or fees against individuals who engage in such communications; or(3) transfers or requires the individual to transfer any intellectual property rights in any such otherwise lawful communications about such person or the goods or services provided by such person.
In short, the bill prevents incidents like this where a hotel charged a couple’s credit card after they posted a negative review online. The EFF has a more thorough review of the bill including its faults. I’m happy to see Senator Thune supporting this type of consumer protection.
Despite its bi-partisian support, however, Republicans in the House did not move the bill out of committee for a full vote, so for the second year in a row, the bill has died.