The Volokh Conspiracy

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SSRN Restores Academic Publication Despite Threat of Defamation Claim

Professor Lipton's article, "Capital Discrimination" is back up on SSRN, despite the efforts of Philip Shawe's attorneys.


Last week, I reported on SSRN's decision to remove a draft paper by Professor Ann Lipton, "Capital Discrimination," after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from attorneys representing Philip R. Shawe, who alleged the article defames him by recounting his role in a high profile business dispute.

Good news! As Professor Lipton noted yesterday on Twitter, SSRN has now restored the article. Even better, SSRN announced that  is reviewing its internal practices on how to respond to threats of defamation suits and other actions designed to deplatform or cancel academic manuscripts.

The Houston Law Review, which had previously accepted the article for publication, issued its own statement, clarifying that it had not withdrawn its offer of publication, and that it is working through the traditional cite-checking and substantiation process that is typically part of legal academic publishing.

Meanwhile, as a consequence of his lawyers' actions, many more people are familiar with Philip R. Shawe and his alleged behavior. The Streisand Effect in action!