The Consumer Review Freedom Act, introduced in the House by California Democrats Eric Swalwell and Brad Sherman, follows legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown in California last week which bans so-called anti-disparagement clauses. The legislation is a response to businesses that seek to prevent people from leaving negative feedback on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, which allow anyone to publicly proclaim their opinions about a company's products and services. Some businesses have sought to do some damage control by inserting anti-disparagement clauses deep within the legalese of their customer agreements, laying out penalties for public airing of grievances. California's law imposes a fine of up to $10,000 on businesses that seek to squash bad consumer reviews by inserting such clauses into contacts and requiring customers to sign them. Get the full story at