Yelp lobbying on patent, copyright reform

Yelp's first lobbying campaigns are on patent reform and copyright laws, according to government records.

The online urban city guide hired former House staffer Laurent Crenshaw as its first lobbyist last month. The company previously supported lobbying through trade groups like TechNet but had kept a generally low profile when it comes to lobbying on its own.

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Crenshaw joined the company on Nov. 4, after serving as a legislative director for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He registered as a lobbyist that same day, according to federal records.

In its official lobbying disclosure form, Yelp said that Crenshaw was lobbying on the Innovation Act, which supporters say would reform the country’s patent system to crack down on abusive lawsuits. The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee in November.

Crenshaw is also lobbying on the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which outlined copyright rules for the Internet, as well as the law that provides legal protection for operators of websites hosting content created by others.

Yelp added that Crenshaw would be lobbying on a potential law preventing strategic lawsuits against public participation, known as an anti-SLAPP bill.

Supporters of a federal anti-SLAPP law say that the Washington needs to get involved to protect businesses from intimidating and burdensome lawsuits that force businesses to spend money defending themselves.

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