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H.R. 2304 (114th): SPEAK FREE Act of 2015

The SPEAK FREE Act of 2015 (H.R. 2304) is a bipartisan Act of Congress that was introduced on May 13, 2015, designed to serve as federal anti-SLAPP legislation, to protect free speech in practice. Its title is an acronym (S.P.E.A.K. F.R.E.E.) that stands for "Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts Act of 2015".

This summary is from Wikipedia.

Last updated Oct 11, 2018. Source: Wikipedia

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 13, 2015.

Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts Act of 2015 or the SPEAK FREE Act of 2015

Amends the federal judicial code to allow a person against whom a lawsuit is asserted to file a special motion to dismiss claims referred to as strategic lawsuits against public participation ("SLAPP suits") that arise from an oral or written statement or other expression, or conduct in furtherance of such expression, by the defendant in connection with an official proceeding or about a matter of public concern.

Defines "matter of public concern" as an issue related to: (1) health or safety; (2) environmental, economic, or community well-being; (3) the government; (4) a public official or public figure; or (5) a good, product, or service in the marketplace.

Requires courts to grant such a special motion to dismiss if the party filing the motion makes a prima facie showing that the claim asserted against them is a SLAPP suit, unless the responding party demonstrates that the claim is likely to succeed on the merits.

Provides exceptions prohibiting courts from granting such a special motion to dismiss if the claim concerns:

a government enforcement action, a business making representations of fact in commercial speech to consumers about its own or a business competitor's goods or services, or a public interest claim on behalf of the general public. Allows dismissal of private suits, notwithstanding such commercial speech and public interest exceptions, if the claim is against:

a person or entity engaged in activities to disseminate or express ideas to the public in a book or academic journal; any person or entity based upon statements or conduct concerning the creation, dissemination, exhibition, advertisement, or other promotion of journalistic, consumer commentary, dramatic, literary, musical, political, or artistic works, including motion pictures, television programs, or articles published online or in a newspaper or magazine of general circulation; or a nonprofit organization that receives more than 50% of annual revenue grants or awards from, programs of, or reimbursements for services rendered to the government. Sets forth special procedural requirements for discovery and motions.

Requires courts to award litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney's fees to private parties that filed and prevailed on certain motions under this Act or to parties that responded to motions found to be frivolous.