UK Online Defamation Laws To Be Updated | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | May 26th, 2010

Online defamation laws in the UK should soon see a major overhaul as they are championed by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lester. The reform of libel laws was also mentioned in the Queen’s speech as it was included as part of the coalition government’s agreement. Here in the UK, online defamation laws are identical to regular defamation laws but with the vast differences in media types and specifically in the way that the media is handled, it has raised numerous concerns over our antiquated regulations; this could soon change.

Changes in the law are viewed differently depending on which side of the argument you sit. Authors and online publishers argue that the rules need updating because the current laws were established over 100 years ago and that the Internet is a very different publication media than old school newspaper publications. This view is backed by a number of journalists and other professionals, including Telegraph reporter Simon Singh who has himself just won a legal battle on the matter.

On the other side of the argument are those that believe that they have been falsely accused of something that has proven detrimental to their own reputation. This is another area where reform certainly looks to be desperately needed. One of the biggest issues facing judges and courts at the moment is a complete lack of clarity on certain issues surrounding the laws and as all three major parties vowed to change the existing regulations, reform should almost certainly be on the cards and in the very near future.

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Jefferson Parish President Withdraws Lawsuit | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | May 25th, 2010

The Interim President of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Steven Theriot, apparently doesn’t have the thick skin of a public official. He was claiming, just a few days ago, that he would sue for allowing anonymous users to post defamatory comments on the Internet. However, the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Section 230, makes it pretty clear that third party publishing is not punishable via law.

However, the Interim President has since withdrawn his lawsuit. Theriot says it caused an uproar that he never expected, and he certainly wasn’t trying to abridge the right to free speech.

“This lawsuit was never intended to silence individuals from expressing their views or suppressing any First Amendment rights,” Mr. Theriot said in the statement. “Rather, the focus was on the detrimental consequences that stem from false and injurious statements being made by anonymous posters and bloggers in cyberspace.”

Mr. Theriot’s status as a public official would have made the case quite difficult, or impossible, for him to win anyway–a fact he must have realized after consulting with his lawyers.

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Watch Your Comments | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | May 18th, 2010

Defamation lawsuits are certainly nothing new and the advent of social networking websites have brought the debate of what is and what is not considered defamatory to the fore once again. While the form of media may be different, online defamation is largely the same as any other form of defamation so not only should you be wary when posting comments online but you should also know that there is a potential for recourse if you feel that you or your practices have been wrongly brought to question by others.

A statement is said to be defamatory if it can be proven to be false and if it has been made to damage the name or reputation of another person or entity. Blogs, forums, review sites, and social networks are just some of the types of site that users are posting their own thoughts and experiences on and as such these can be a hot bed for negative press and bad reviews. As a business owner or marketer you need to take the time to consider whether any such posts exist for your own name or the name of your business.

Unfortunately, the onus with online defamation lies very much in the hands of the accuser. If you believe somebody has posted defamatory comments on the Internet about you then it is your responsibility to prove they are not true. This, along with the potential cost and time to fight and win a lawsuit, makes online reputation management the tool of choice for fighting these comments.

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What Online Defamation Lawsuits Can Teach Us | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | May 11th, 2010

Although online defamation lawsuits are relatively uncommon, there have been enough to indicate that making defamatory comments about others can land you in serious legal and subsequently financial trouble. There should be little surprise in this, although the general feeling of Internet users is that they can say what they want about who they want and when they want. Perhaps the biggest surprise is what may or may not be considered online defamation and the sites where you need to watch what you say.

It’s commonplace for people to use sites like Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking websites to vent their anger or frustration but care should be taken. Users that have set up fake Facebook accounts have been sued for online defamation and cases have been tried successfully. It’s not just defamation towards businesses that can lead to legal action as individuals that are so inclined are also able to take similar court action. Facebook is far from the only website where similar actions have been taken either.

One Ebay user was recently surprised to learn that a case was being filed against them for a negative and allegedly defamatory comment left on the rating system. The Ebay rating system allows buyers and sellers to leave feedback for one another in a bid to improve other users’ experiences. The buyer left comments regarding the quality of the products and also made a statement likening the seller to a used car salesman. The seller, an experienced lawyer, sued for defamation and was awarded damages because the negative rating ruined an otherwise perfect online reputation.

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Sir Robert Jones To Sue Investment Advisor Over “Scurrilous” Article | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | May 11th, 2010

Sir Robert Jones, a renowned New Zealand property investor and business commentator has announced that he intends to sue investment advisor Chris Lee of Kapiti Coast Investment for liable over an article stating that Sir Robert was guilty of serious commercial crime. The article in question was published in 2007 in a magazine called City Life and in the article, Mr Lee accused the 70 year old property tycoon of paying 8% of his public company’s gross assets to his public company when in fact it was 8% of gross income.

Michael Reed QC, speaking on behalf of his client Sir Robert Jones, further stated that the article claimed that the company had over inflated its assets to increase the size of the fee taken.

Speaking in court, Sir Robert said that he had given Mr Lee the opportunity to publish and apology and to detract the original statement but that he had not done either.

Sir Robert when on to say that if Mr Lee “slurs like he did about me, I’m going to do something about it.”

While the article was published in City Life which is a paper print publication, the effects of negative press can still potentially be seen on the Internet. Numerous websites have covered the story in its entirety and these articles will remain online for a long time to come.

Whatever the result of the court case, which is expected to come to a close on Friday, it shows the possible impact that defamatory comments published in any type of publication can have and the action that can be faced for writing such comments.

Offline cases are easier to try in court and it is easier to have statements retracted because the original publisher can usually be found without much hassle. In the case of online defamation, however, the best action is usually a program of online reputation management to help bury those negative results.

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The MILO v. MARTIN Decision | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | May 1st, 2010

The Ninth District of the Texas Court of Appeals gave a decision yesterday on a case called MILO v. MARTIN. The case has special significance to those in the reputation management industry.

Plaintiffs, Walter Milo and Anthony Shelton, sued Guy Martin, Sandy Martin, Bill Cochran, Jr., and Melvin Douglas (collectively referred to as “The Watchdog”) for actual and punitive damages related to The Watchdog’s alleged publication on its website of several comments that Milo and Shelton contend were defamatory.[ 1 ] The derogatory comments that Milo and Shelton complain about were posted by anonymous[ 2 ] users to a portion of the website titled “Guest Book” during October 2006. After filing its original answer, The Watchdog filed a combined no-evidence and traditional motion for summary judgment. The Watchdog’s no-evidence motion argues that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 prevents a court from treating The Watchdog as having published the statements placed on its website by third parties.

The court decided in favor of Watchdog, who claimed there was no evidence that they had published the material but rather that anonymous commenters had done so.

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