In my post last month, I noted that California was the only state to have a law protecting consumers from non-disparagement clauses, so the best protection for those of us who live elsewhere is to look carefully for such a clause in the Terms of Sale on every site we use. However, it looks like that may soon change. Just one day after I posted my article on the California law, U.S. Representative Eric Smalwell (D-CA) introduced a bill in the House to ban non-disparagement clauses nationwide. According to Forbes magazine, the bill "says that businesses could not prohibit such reviews, impose a fine for posting a review, or require consumers to provide the business with exclusive rights to such reviews." Any clause that does any of these things would be legally unenforceable and would also be considered a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. (You can read a summary of the bill on the official Congressional website.)
I don't know about you, but I've already e-mailed my Representative urging him to cosponsor this bill. I hope enough other people do likewise to give this legislation some momentum and, with luck, help us non-Californians get some protection against these ridiculous, harsh, and blatantly unconstitutional clauses.