Governor Paterson signed legislation yesterday that will allow New York writers to go to local courts to seek legal protection if they are sued for libel in foreign countries.
The law was proposed in response to a defamation judgment that a Saudi financier secured in Britain against a journalist in New York, Rachel Ehrenfeld. The new law bars New York courts from enforcing the libel judgments of foreign countries that have fewer free speech protections than America.
The law also allows Ms. Ehrenfeld and others who may be in her position in the future to seek a court order declaring that the foreign libel judgment is invalid in New York.
"Although New York State has now done all it can do to protect our authors while they live in New York, they remain vulnerable if they move to other states, or if they have assets in other states," Mr. Paterson said in statement. He called on Congress to enact similar legislation.