Caregivers Using Copyright Law To Shield Themselves From Public Criticism From Patients

Tim Lee reports on a weird new trend in health care where some medical professionals are refusing to treat patients who don’t sign a form restraining their ability to comment on the quality of service provided:

When I walked into the offices of Dr. Ken Cirka, I was looking for cleaner teeth, not material for an Ars Technica story. I needed a new dentist, and Yelp says Dr. Cirka is one of the best in the Philadelphia area. The receptionist handed me a clipboard with forms to fill out. After the usual patient information form, there was a “mutual privacy agreement” that asked me to transfer ownership of any public commentary I might write in the future to Dr. Cirka. Surprised and a little outraged by this, I got into a lengthy discussion with Dr. Cirka’s office manager that ended in me refusing to sign and her showing me the door.

The good news here, such as it is, is that this kind of agreement is probably toothless under the law.