Defamation FAQs

Internet Defamation is a rising concern in the era of new media, the most popular being – the Internet. Historically, oral and written medium have been the two commonest areas where defamation cases have taken place. Therefore, Libel and Slander became the two areas where defamation offenders were charged regularly. However, with the advent of the Internet, defamation laws had to be changed and are currently undergoing transformation in many countries of the world.

Defamation is the publication to a third party of a statement about you which has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to your personal and Business reputation. The defamatory publication will either be a libel or a slander.

Libel relates to a defamatory publication which is permanent. Most obviously this includes written material (books, reviews, comments, content, newspaper and magazine articles or material published online), as well as allegations appearing on TV or radio.

Slander is a defamatory statement made verbally or by gesture.  The same rules generally apply to both libel and slander, which are often grouped together under the term “defamation.”  In some jurisdictions, the statute of limitations for slander is shorter than for libel. 

Your online reputation and character are everything. Online defamation on the Internet is rampant. False information about you posted by customers, competitors and other bad actors can cost you big time. A qualified Internet defamation attorney can help you understand your options to have false statements of fact removed from the web under Internet libel (sometimes mistakenly referred to as Internet slander) and online defamation law.

Yes, if the statement has caused or is likely to cause serious harm in the form of serious financial loss.

Yes. Libel covers all written words, wherever they are published, although the operators of websites are given certain protections if they were not responsible for publishing what has been posted on their website.

Yes. Even relatively transient publications such as Tweets can constitute libel provided they have caused or are likely to cause serious harm to reputation.

Any person, company or other legal body involved in publishing the defamatory material can be sued in libel or slander. This includes the author, any editor or any publishing company. Sometimes distributors of defamatory material can also be sued, including website owners and ISPs.

Usually if your defamation claim in libel or slander is successful either at court or in a settlement you will get compensation. How much you get depends on how serious the allegation is, and what harm has been caused. Where the case is decided in your favour by the court it may also be possible at that stage to get an order (called an injunction) preventing further publication. If the case is settled out of court or by agreement you can seek undertakings from the publisher not to repeat the allegations. If successful, it is also usual for the court to order your unsuccessful opponent to pay a large proportion of your legal costs.

Online review websites cause a great deal of heartache for small business owners. Over the past several years, due to the growth of review sites, the number of Internet defamation lawsuits has increased. In these types of cases, if the reviewer only gives their opinion or a truthful retelling of their experience, it’s difficult for the business owner to win a defamation suit. However, if the reviewer exaggerates or lies in their review (which could include leaving out pertinent information), a strong argument for defamation is present.

Holding an opinion is not a problem, but when comments are made about someone else that are false and which can lead to harming someone’s reputation or leading to a financial loss, then they can be considered as libel.

If you are in need of an experienced Internet defamation lawyer or online libel attorney, please contact us via e-mail. We would recommend an attorney near your city.

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