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Proposal: Right to Fair Review (RFR) Association

I don't think we need others to get started. There are plenty of us and resources right here. I do need a leader to take it on though. If you are interested, please contact me via private message.
I do actually agree with @artismo on this one - I think Steve Burke at GamersNexus would be a good person to partner with as he's got lots of reach in tech - and if you think what happened with Tekton was bad, wait until you hear what Nvidia does when they don't like a review.
 
It gets expensive anytime lawyers, process, insurance, and arbitration is involved and I doubt this idea is sustainable.

Another way is to develop standards for reviewing and sticking to the standards. The reviewer interpretation aka opinion of the results is where the problems can occur. Need to put the interpretation thru the lens of the standard to remove opinion. This is challenging due to the subjectivity of audio due to how everyone’s ears and preferences are different.

Perhaps write reviews in a similar format as Project Farm on YouTube. For example, he tests a bunch of wrenches and videos the test process. Puts the results on a grid and then highlights the best product, the best value, and the cheapest product that still works. He’ll add comments that these wrenches will last forever and won’t rust because of the coating or whatever. Some of his tests are controversial like how fast oil flows after being frozen or how big the wear test spot is. While this can be measured, does it matter? Anyways comparing products like he does eliminates some of the opinion.

Putting against the standard would then put the ball in the court of the product manufacturers to improve the standard.
 
That's what insurance companies/big corporations do - create your own standard and follow it, except create a real standard (sometimes they make them up).
 
Long time lurker, first time poster here.

I am a civil litigation attorney in Arizona that mainly defends companies, so thought I would chime in with some basic advice (I will give the usual lawyerly warning that this does not constitute legal advice or the forming of an attorney-client relationship). I have not read through every single prior post, so apologize in advance if some or all of this information was already relayed.

I know it was mentioned that affordable insurance coverage is hard to come by, but I would check with specialized brokers for business defamation coverage. Lockton is the first that comes to mind, but there are others that should be able to help find available coverage and get you quotes. Insurance across the board right now is expensive, but you should definitely look into obtaining coverage. In the event something ever comes up your insurance carrier will retain a lawyer on your behalf and be responsible for any potential indemnity payment (settlement or judgment).

I would also look into the corporate formation of ASR. Is ASR an LLC, S Corp, partnership, or something else? Is ASR even incorporated? Assuming ASR is an LLC or correctly incorporated, does ASR have any collectible assets? Is ASR following good business practices of not comingling business and personal funds or property (separate bank accounts, separate credit cards, equipment owned by the company/not individual, etc). Making sure ASR is correctly incorporated and following good basic business practices will help protect assets in the event litigation does occur.

I would also recommend consulting with a lawyer in your area that handles defamation type cases to get advice on best practices moving forward. They should be able to explain the various laws and protections in place for reviews (CRFA, Anti-SLAPP, etc). The price will hopefully be outweighed by the peace of mind that you should get from consulting with a knowledgeable attorney.

Sorry you have to deal with this. You would think the negative press alone would be enough to dissuade companies from going after honest and independent reviewers, but apparently not.
 
Another way is to develop standards for reviewing and sticking to the standards.
This already exists in the form of 1) established law 2) court precedent 3) journalistic norms. You're talking about developing something that already exists and is generally adhered to by any reviewer with their head screwed on straight.

The reviewer interpretation aka opinion of the results is where the problems can occur. Need to put the interpretation thru the lens of the standard to remove opinion. This is challenging due to the subjectivity of audio due to how everyone’s ears and preferences are different.
No. Reviewers are allowed to have opinions and the reviewee can't get damages just because an opinion is expressed, even a completely wrong, even seriously damaging opinion. The only legal problem with a reviewer's opinion is passing off lies about concrete fact as "opinion".

If you go out of business and end up living on the street because a single reviewer expressed a negative opinion about your business... guess what, in the US there's no real legal recourse unless they lied. You may not like the law, but that's the law.

The whole point of this organization is that brands can and do use illegitimate legal threats to silence opinions they don't like. Expensive legal threats that are levied against reviews that DO adhere to legal and ethical standards, which again, already exist.
 
I like the idea of an association to protect and promote the interests of this site and the independent audio reviewers who contribute to it. I work for a large health care company and we get a lot of mileage out of the associations we belong to. The First Amendment is great but there is a cost to defending it.
 
I know it was mentioned that affordable insurance coverage is hard to come by, but I would check with specialized brokers for business defamation coverage. Lockton is the first that comes to mind, but there are others that should be able to help find available coverage and get you quotes. Insurance across the board right now is expensive, but you should definitely look into obtaining coverage. In the event something ever comes up your insurance carrier will retain a lawyer on your behalf and be responsible for any potential indemnity payment (settlement or judgment).
Thanks for your comments. I do indeed use a specialized broker and the policy I have is limited and specialized for this application alone. Despite its narrow coverage, the cost is four times higher than my general commercial liability insurance! Between the two policies I am paying $5,000 a year in insurance costs alone! Imagine how many donations go to just pay for this. While I am able to pay such expenses, if someone were to try to make a living from reviewing gear, would not likely be able to justify it and would so go without this level of protection. Hence the idea of creating this organization and bringing volume to the insurers and with it, lower the cost.

Even my commercial liability insurance is suboptimal, meant for brick and mortar businesses and not someone who has no employees, no retail space, no contractors, etc.

I would also look into the corporate formation of ASR. Is ASR an LLC, S Corp, partnership, or something else? Is ASR even incorporated? Assuming ASR is an LLC or correctly incorporated, does ASR have any collectible assets?
Of course. I formed an LLC immediately before the forum was even started. I have great attorneys and consulted with them in general and specifically. There is a reason I have the defamation policy coverage. As to assets, indeed ASR has plenty and this was my concern. That is, the LLC would protect my personal assets but not the $200K+ I have invested into ASR, a lot of which is hard assets such as measurement gear, audio products, etc.

I would also recommend consulting with a lawyer in your area that handles defamation type cases to get advice on best practices moving forward. They should be able to explain the various laws and protections in place for reviews (CRFA, Anti-SLAPP, etc). The price will hopefully be outweighed by the peace of mind that you should get from consulting with a knowledgeable attorney.
As I have noted and you well know, such an initial discussion at hourly rates of $300 to $500 would easily run into serious expense. It usually takes me an hour to explain an issue to my lawyer. Then they want to review things and huddle back. Next thing you know, you are in for a few thousand dollars. Again, I can afford to do this but not the average youtube reviewer.

I wish I had the time to dedicate to this organization as I think it is so needed across all domains of reviews, and not just audio.
 
Thanks for your comments. I do indeed use a specialized broker and the policy I have is limited and specialized for this application alone. Despite its narrow coverage, the cost is four times higher than my general commercial liability insurance! Between the two policies I am paying $5,000 a year in insurance costs alone! Imagine how many donations go to just pay for this. While I am able to pay such expenses, if someone were to try to make a living from reviewing gear, would not likely be able to justify it and would so go without this level of protection. Hence the idea of creating this organization and bringing volume to the insurers and with it, lower the cost.

Even my commercial liability insurance is suboptimal, meant for brick and mortar businesses and not someone who has no employees, no retail space, no contractors, etc.


Of course. I formed an LLC immediately before the forum was even started. I have great attorneys and consulted with them in general and specifically. There is a reason I have the defamation policy coverage. As to assets, indeed ASR has plenty and this was my concern. That is, the LLC would protect my personal assets but not the $200K+ I have invested into ASR, a lot of which is hard assets such as measurement gear, audio products, etc.


As I have noted and you well know, such an initial discussion at hourly rates of $300 to $500 would easily run into serious expense. It usually takes me an hour to explain an issue to my lawyer. Then they want to review things and huddle back. Next thing you know, you are in for a few thousand dollars. Again, I can afford to do this but not the average youtube reviewer.

I wish I had the time to dedicate to this organization as I think it is so needed across all domains of reviews, and not just audio.
Amir, you're in quite a unique position with your motivations / skills / knowledge / interests & financial abilities that you can provide such a website, so we thank you for that, and so would most of the objective audio community! Whenever I buy audio gear in the future I'll always be referring to this site for reviewed gear. Many reformed audiophiles would thank you for this. (I'm not reformed though, because I found this website at the very moment I got more serious about audio, so I was lucky enough not to lose effort & money on the wrong gear!). I'll be donating every year for the cause & to add to my part in this (not the legal side specifically, but generally).
 
I have to wonder if all of this hasn't driven Erin completely out of the speaker reviewing business. His last posted review was for a pair of Morel speakers posted on May 2 which is nearly a month ago. If someone has an update on his status as a continuing reviewer, it would be appreciated.
 
Behind on this. What company so I can choose independently not to every buy their stuff.
 
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