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Encyclopedia > Defamation
Tort law
Part of the common law series
Duty of care  · Standard of care
Proximate cause  · Res ipsa loquitur
Calculus of negligence  · Eggshell skull
Negligent emotional distress
Rescue doctrine  · Duty to rescue
Statutory Torts
Product liability  · Ultrahazardous activity
Trespassers  · Licensees  · Invitees
Attractive nuisance
Public nuisance  · Rylands v. Fletcher
Property torts
Trespass  · Conversion
Detinue  · Replevin  · Trover
Intentional torts
Assault  · Battery  · False imprisonment
Intentional emotional distress
Consent  · Necessity  · Self defense
Dignitary torts
Defamation  · Invasion of privacy
Breach of confidence  · Abuse of process
Malicious prosecution
Economic torts
Fraud  · Tortious interference
Conspiracy  · Restraint of trade
Liability, Defenses, Remedies
Comparative and Contributory negligence
Last clear chance
Vicarious liability  · Volenti non fit injuria
Ex turpi causa non oritur actio
Damages  · Injunction
Common law
Contract law  · Property law
Wills and trusts
Criminal law  · Evidence
Topics in journalism
Professional issues

Ethics & objectivity
Sources & attribution
News & news values
Reporting & writing
Fourth estateLibel law
Education & books
Other topics Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Not to be confused with torte, an iced cake. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... Negligence is a legal concept usually used to achieve compensation for accidents and injuries. ... In tort law, a duty of care is a legal obligation imposed on an individual requiring that they exercise a reasonable standard of care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. ... In tort law, the standard of care is the degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care. ... In the law, a proximate cause is an event sufficiently related to a legally recognizable injury to be held the cause of that injury. ... Res ipsa loquitur is a legal term from the Latin meaning literally, The thing itself speaks but is more often translated The thing speaks for itself. The doctrine is applied to tort claims which, as a matter of law, do not have to be explained beyond the obvious facts. ... In the United States, the calculus of negligence or learned hand rule is a term coined by Judge Learned Hand and describes a process for determining whether a legal duty of care has been breached (see negligence). ... The eggshell skull rule (or thin-skull rule) is a legal doctrine used in both tort law and criminal law that holds an individual liable for all consequences resulting from their activities leading to an injury to another person, even if the victim suffers unusual damages due to a pre... The tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is a controversial legal theory and is not accepted in many United States jurisdictions. ... The rescue doctrine of the law of torts holds that, where a tortfeasor creates a circumstance that places the tort victim in danger, the tortfeasor is liable not only for the harm caused to the victim, but also the harm caused to any person injured in an effort to rescue... A duty to rescue is a concept in the law of torts that arises in a narrow number of cases, describing a circumstance in which a party can be held liable for failing to come to the rescue of another party in peril. ... Products liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause. ... An ultrahazardous activity in the common law of torts is one that is so inherently dangerous that a person engaged in such an activity can be held strictly liable for injuries caused to another person, even if the person engaged in the activity took every reasonable precaution to prevent others... In the law of torts, property, and criminal law a trespasser is a person who is trespassing on a property, that is, without the permission of the owner. ... A licensee is a term used in the law of torts to describe a person who is on the property of another, despite the fact that the property is not open to the general public, because the owner of the property has allowed the licensee to enter. ... In the law of torts, an invitee is a person who is invited to land by the possessor of the land as a member of the public, or one whos invited to the land for the purpose of business dealings with the possessor of the land. ... Under the attractive nuisance doctrine of the law of torts, a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children, who are unable to appreciate the... Nuisance is a common law tort. ... Nuisance is a common law tort. ... Rylands v. ... “Unlawful entry” redirects here. ... In law, conversion is an intentional tort to personal property (same as chattel), where defendants unjustified willful interference with the chattel deprives plaintiff of possession of such chattel. ... In tort law, detinue is an action for the wrongful detention of goods from an individual who has a greater right to immediate possession than the current possessor. ... Replevin is an Anglo-French law term (derived from repletir, to replevy). ... Trover signifies finding. ... An intentional tort is a category of torts that describes a civil wrong resulting from an intentional act on the part of the tortfeasor. ... At common law, battery is the tort of intentionally (or, in Australia, negligently) and volitionally bringing about an unconsented harmful or offensive contact with a person or to something closely associated with them (i. ... False imprisonment is a tort, and possibly a crime, wherein a person is intentionally confined without legal authority. ... Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) is a common law tort claim for intentional conduct that results in extreme emotional distress. ... Consent (as a term of jurisprudence) is a possible justification against civil or criminal liability. ... In tort law, the defense of necessity is divided between private necessity (where a person commits a tort for the defense of his own property) and public necessity (where a person commits a tort for the public good, such as cutting down someone elses trees to stop the spread... This article and defense of property deal with the legal concept of excused (sometimes termed justified) acts that might otherwise be illegal. ... Invasion of privacy is a legal term essentially defined as a violation of the right to be left alone. ... The tort of breach of confidence, is a common law tort that protects private information that is conveyed in confidence. ... Abuse of process is a common law intentional tort. ... Malicious prosecution is a common law intentional tort. ... Economic Torts are torts for which employers can sue trade union officials or members who are taking part in industrial action. ... Tortious interference, in the common law of tort, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiffs contractual or other business relationships. ... In the law of tort, the legal elements necessary to establish a civil conspiracy are substantially the same as for establishing a criminal conspiracy, i. ... At present, the law will not enforce certain types of contracts on the ground of illegality. ... Comparative negligence is a system of apportioning recovery for a tort based on a comparison of the plaintiffs negligence with the defendants. ... Contributory negligence is a common law defence to a claim based on negligence, an action in tort. ... The last clear chance is a doctrine in the law of torts that is employed in contributory negligence jurisdictions. ... Vicarious liability is a form of strict, secondary liability that arises under the common law doctrine of agency – respondeat superior – the responsibility of the superior for the acts of their subordinate, or, in a broader sense, the responsibility of any third party that had the right, ability or duty to... Volenti non fit injuria is a Latin expression meaning to a willing person, no injury is done. The principle is that someone who knowingly and willingly puts himself in a dangerous situation will be legally disentitled to sue for his or her resulting injuries. ... If you commit a crime, you cannot sue for damages that you experience while committing the crime ... In law, damages refers to the money paid or awarded to a claimant (as it is known in the UK) or plaintiff (in the US) following their successful claim in a civil action. ... Look up Injunction in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties that the law will enforce. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... In the common law, a will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator) regulates the rights of others over his property or family after death. ... The law of trusts and estates is generally considered the body of law which governs the management of personal affairs and the disposition of property of an individual in anticipation and the event of such persons incapacity or death, also known as the law of successions in civil law. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. ... The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e. ... Journalism is a discipline of gathering, writing and reporting news, and more broadly it includes the process of editing and presenting the news articles. ... Journalism ethics and standards include principles of ethics and of good practice to address the specific challenges faced by professional journalists. ... Objectivity is frequently held to be essential to journalistic professionalism (particularly in the United States); however, there is some disagreement about what the concept consists of. ... Source is a term used in journalism to refer to any individual from whom information about a story has been received. ... It has been suggested that Attribution (journalism) be merged into this article or section. ... For other uses, see News (disambiguation). ... News values determine how much prominence a news story is given by a media outlet. ... A reporter is a type of journalist who researches and presents information in certain types of mass media. ... News style is the prose style of short, front-page newspaper stories and the news bulletins that air on radio and television. ... In modern times, television reporters are part of the fourth estate. ... “Libel” redirects here. ... List of journalism topics A-D AP Stylebook Arizona Republic Associated Press Bar chart Canadian Association of Journalists Chart Citizen journalism Committee to Protect Journalists Conservative bias Copy editing Desktop publishing E-J Editor Freedom of the press Graphic design Hedcut Headline Headlinese Hostile media effect House style Information graphic...


Advocacy journalism
Alternative journalism
Arts journalism
Business journalism
Citizen journalism
Fashion journalism
Investigative journalism
Literary journalism
Science journalism
Sports journalism
Video game journalism
Video journalism
Advocacy journalism is a genre of journalism which is strongly fact-based, but may seek to support a point-of-view in some public or private sector issue. ... As long as there has been media there has been alternative media. ... Arts journalism is a branch of journalism concerned with the reporting and discussion monkeys giblets and squirrels rectums. ... Business journalism includes coverage of companies, the workplace, personal finance, and economics, including unemployment and other economic indicators. ... Citizen journalism, also known as participatory journalism, or people journalism is the act of citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information, according to the seminal report We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information, by Shayne... Fashion journalism is an umbrella term used to describe all aspects of published fashion media. ... Investigative journalism is a kind of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a topic of interest, often involving crime, political corruption, or some other scandal. ... Creative nonfiction is a genre of literature, also known as literary journalism, which uses literary skills in the writing of nonfiction. ... Assault landing One of the first waves at Omaha Beach as photographed by Robert F. Sargent. ... Science journalism is a relatively new branch of journalism, which uses the art of reporting to convey information about science topics to a public forum. ... Sports journalism is a form of journalism that reports on sports topics and events. ... Video game journalism is a branch of journalism concerned with the reporting and discussion of video games. ... Video journalism is a form of broadcast journalism, where the production of video content in which the journalist shoots, edits and often presents his or her own material. ...

Social impact

"Infotainers" and personalities
News management
Distortion and VNRs
PR and propaganda
"Yellow journalism"
Press freedom
Infotainment (a portmanteau of information and entertainment) refers to a general type of media broadcast program which provides a combination of current events news and feature news, or features stories. Infotainment also refers to the segments of programming in television news programs which overall consist of both hard news segments... Infotainers are entertainers in infotainment media, such as news anchors or news personalities who cross the line between journalism (quasi-journalism) and entertainment within the broader news trade. ... Infotainment or soft news, refers to a part of the wider news trade that provides information in a way that is considered entertaining to its viewers, as evident by attraction of a higher market demographic. ... Managing the news refers to acts which are intended to influence the presentation of information within the news media. ... Distorted news or planted news are terms in journalism for two deviated aspects of the wider news media wherein media outlets deliberately present false data, evidence, or sources as factual, in contradiction to the ethical practices in professional journalism. ... A video news release (VNR) is a video segment created by a PR firm, advertising agency, marketing firm, corporation, or government agency and provided to television news stations for the purpose of informing, shaping public opinion, or to promote and publicize individuals, commercial products and services, or other interests. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Propaganda (disambiguation). ... Nasty little printers devils spew forth from the Hoe press in this Puck cartoon of Nov. ... Freedom of the press (or press freedom) is the guarantee by a government of free public press for its citizens and their associations, extended to members of news gathering organizations, and their published reporting. ...

News media

Newspapers and magazines
News agencies
Broadcast journalism
Online and blogging
Alternative media News media satellite up-link trucks and photojournalists gathered outside the Prudential Financial headquarters in Newark, New Jersey in August, 2004 following the announcement of evidence of a terrorist threat to it and to buildings in New York City. ... This article is about the magazine as a published medium. ... A news agency is an organization of journalists established to supply news reports to organizations in the news trade: newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasters. ... Broadcast journalism refers to television news and radio news, as well as the online news outlets of broadcast affiliates. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Alternative media are defined most broadly as those media practices falling outside the mainstreams of corporate communication. ...


Journalist, reporter, editor, news presenter, photo journalist, Columnist, visual journalist The terms news trade or news business refers to news-related organizations in the mass media (or information media) as a business entity —associated with but distinct from the profession of journalism. ... For other uses, see Journalist (disambiguation). ... This article is about journalistic reporters. ... Editing may also refer to audio editing or film editing. ... “Anchorman” redirects here. ... Assault landing One of the first waves at Omaha Beach as photographed by Robert F. Sargent. ... A columnist is a journalist who produces a specific form of writing for publication called a column. Columns appear in newspapers, magazines and the Internet. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...

 v  d  e 

In law, defamation is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against criticism. Slander and libel are false or malicious claims that may harm someones reputation. ... Look up libel in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In the most general sense, a liability is anything that is a hindrance, or puts individuals at a disadvantage. ...

The common law origins of defamation lie in the torts of slander (harmful statement in a transitory form, especially speech) and libel (harmful statement in a fixed medium, especially writing but also a picture, sign, or electronic broadcast), each of which gives a common law right of action. This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... Not to be confused with torte, an iced cake. ...

"Defamation" is the general term used internationally, and is used in this article where it is not necessary to distinguish between "slander" and "libel". Libel and slander both require publication. The fundamental distinction between libel and slander lies solely in the form in which the defamatory matter is published. If the offending material is published in some fleeting form, as by spoken words or sounds, sign language, gestures and the like, then this is slander. If it is published in more durable form, for example in written words, film, compact disc (CD), DVD, blogging and the like, then it is considered libel.

A Libel, within the context of admiralty law, is the equivalent of a lawsult, and the "libellant" (or libalent) is the equivalent of a plaintiff in an action at law.


Vocabulary and general concepts

  • "Libel" comes from Latin : libellus ("little book")[1][2]
  • Even if a statement is derogatory, there are circumstances in which such statements are permissible in law.


In many, though not all, legal systems, statements presented as fact must be false to be defamatory. Proving a defamatory statement to be true is often the best defense against a prosecution for libel. Statements of opinion that cannot be proven true or false will likely need to apply some other kind of defense. The use of the defense of justification has dangers, however. If the defendant libels the plaintiff and then runs the defense of truth and fails, he may be said to have aggravated the harm.

Another important aspect of defamation is the difference between fact and opinion. Statements made as "facts" are frequently actionable defamation. Statements of opinion or pure opinion are not actionable. In order to win damages in a libel case, the plaintiff must first show that the statements were "statements of fact or mixed statements of opinion and fact" and second that these statements were false. Conversely, a typical defense to defamation is that the statements are opinion. One of the major tests to distinguish whether a statement is fact or opinion is whether the statement can be proved true or false in a court of law. If the statement can be proved true or false, then, on that basis, the case will be heard by a jury to determine whether it is true or false. If the statement cannot be proved true or false, the court may dismiss the libel case without it ever going to a jury to find facts in the case. For the trade organisation, see Federation Against Copyright Theft. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

In some systems, however, notably the Philippines, truth alone is not a defense.[3] It is also necessary in these cases to show that there is a well-founded public interest in the specific information being widely known, and this may be the case even for public figures. Public interest is a term used to denote political movements and organizations that are in the public interest—supporting general public and civic causes, in opposition of private and corporate ones (particularistic goals). ... Public figure is a legal term applied in the context of defamation actions (libel and slander). ...

Public interest is generally not "that which the public is interested in," but rather that which is in the interest of the public. [4]

See also: Substantial truth

Substantial truth is a legal doctrine affecting libel and slander laws in common law jurisdictions such as the US or the UK. Under the United States law, a statement cannot be held to be slanderous or libellous if it is true; the substantial truth doctrine extends this protection by holding...

Privilege and malice

Privilege provides a complete bar and answer to a defamation suit, though conditions may have to be met before this protection is granted.

There are two types of privilege in the common law tradition:

  • "Absolute privilege" has the effect that a statement cannot be sued on as defamatory, even if it were made maliciously; a typical example is evidence given in court (although this may give rise to different claims, such as an action for malicious prosecution or perjury) or statements made in a session of the legislature (known as 'Parliamentary privilege' in Commonwealth countries).
  • "Qualified privilege" may be available to the journalist as a defense in circumstances where it is considered important that the facts be known in the public interest; an example would be public meetings, local government documents, and information relating to public bodies such as the police and fire departments. Qualified privilege has the same effect as absolute privilege, but does not protect statements that can be proven to have been made maliciously.

Parliamentary privilege, also known as absolute privilege, is a legal mechanism employed within the legislative bodies of countries whose constitutions are based on the Westminster system. ...

Similar but different delicts and torts

Some jurisdictions have a separate tort or delict of "verbal injury," "intentional infliction of emotional distress," or "convicium," involving the making of a statement, even if truthful, intended to harm the claimant out of malice; some have a separate tort or delict of "invasion of privacy" in which the making of a true statement may give rise to liability: but neither of these comes under the general heading of "defamation". Some jurisdictions also have the tort of "false light", in which a statement may be technically true, but so misleading as to be defamatory. There is also, in almost all jurisdictions, a tort or delict of "misrepresentation", involving the making of a statement which is untrue even though not defamatory; thus if a surveyor states that a house is free from the risk of flooding, he or she has not defamed anyone, but may still be liable to someone who purchases the house in reliance on this statement. Invasion of privacy is a legal term essentially defined as a violation of the right to be left alone. ...

Criminal libel

Many nations have criminal penalties for defamation in some situations, and different conditions for determining whether an offense has occurred. The law is used predominantly to defend political leaders or functionaries of the state. In Britain, the Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta was convicted of criminal libel for denouncing the Italian state agent Ennio Belelli in 1912 (http://ita.anarchopedia.org/Errico_Malatesta). While, in Canada, though the law has been applied on only six occasions in the past century, all of those cases involve libellants attached to the state (police officers, judges, prison guards). In the most recent case, Bradley Waugh and Ravin Gill were charged with criminal libel for publicly accusing six prison guards of the racially motivated murder of a black inmate (http://netk.net.au/Canada/Canada15.asp. In Zimbabwe, "insulting the President" is, by statute, (Public Order and Security Act 2001) a criminal offense. The European Court of Human Rights has in some instances placed restrictions on libel laws by reason of the freedom of expression provisions of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.[5] An important example is Lingens v. Austria (1986) 8 E.H.R.R. 407. Lingens was fined for publishing in a Vienna magazine comments about the behavior of the Austrian Chancellor, such as 'basest opportunism', 'immoral' and 'undignified'. Under the Austrian criminal code the only defense was proof of the truth of these statements. Lingens could not prove the truth of these value judgments. The European Court of Human Rights stated that a careful distinction needed to be made between facts and value judgments/opinions. The existence of facts can be demonstrated, whereas the truth of value judgments is not susceptible of proof. The facts on which Lingens founded his value judgments were not disputed; nor was his good faith. Since it was impossible to prove the truth of value judgments, the requirement of the relevant provisions of the Austrian criminal code was impossible of fulfilment and infringed article 10 of the Convention. Errico Malatesta Errico Malatesta (December 14, 1853 – July 22, 1932) was an anarchist with an unshakable belief, which he shared with his friend Peter Kropotkin, that the anarchist revolution would occur soon. ...

Origins of defamation law

In most early systems of law, verbal defamations were treated as a criminal or quasi-criminal offense, its essence lying not in pecuniary loss, which may be compensated by damages, but in the personal insult which must be atoned for: a vindictive penalty coming in the place of personal revenge. By the law of the Twelve Tables, the composition of scurrilous songs and gross noisy public affronts were punished by death. Minor offenses of the same class seem to have found their place under the general conception of injuria, which included ultimately every form of direct personal aggression which involved abuse or insult. Ordinary Magistrates Extraordinary Magistrates Titles and Honors Emperor Politics and Law The Law of the Twelve Tables (Lex Duodecim Tabularum, more informally simply Duodecim Tabulae) was the ancient legislation that stood at the foundation of Roman law. ...

In the later Roman jurisprudence, from which many of modern laws descend, verbal defamations are dealt with in the edict under two heads. The first comprehended defamatory and injurious statements made in a public manner (convicium contra bonos mores). In this case the essence of the offense lay in the unwarrantable public proclamation. In such a case the truth of the statements was no justification for the unnecessarily public and insulting manner in which they had been made. The second head included defamatory statements made in private, and in this case the offense lay in the imputation itself, not in the manner of its publication. The truth was therefore a sufficient defense, for no man had a right to demand legal protection for a false reputation. Even belief in the truth was enough, because it took away the intention which was essential to the notion of injuria. Using the term Roman law in a broader sense, one may say that Roman law is not only the legal system of ancient Rome but the law that was applied throughout most of Europe until the end of the 18th century. ...

The law thus aimed at giving sufficient scope for the discussion of a man's character, while it protected him from needless insult and pain. The remedy for verbal defamation was long confined to a civil action for a monetary penalty, which was estimated according to the significance of the case, and which, although vindictive in its character, doubtless included practically the element of compensation. But a new remedy was introduced with the extension of the criminal law, under which many kinds of defamation were punished with great severity. At the same time increased importance attached to the publication of defamatory books and writings, the libri or libelli famosi, from which we derive our modern use of the word libel; and under the later emperors the latter term came to be specially applied to anonymous accusations or pasquils, the dissemination of which was regarded as particularly dangerous, and visited with very severe punishment, whether the matter contained in them were true or false. Pasquinade refers to an anonymous lampoon, whether in verse or in prose. ...

Defamation laws by country

English law

Development of English defamation law

Modern libel and slander laws as implemented in many but not all Commonwealth nations, in the United States, and in the Republic of Ireland, are originally descended from English defamation law. The Commonwealth of Nations as of 2006 Headquarters Marlborough House, London, UK Official languages English Membership 53 sovereign states Leaders  -  Queen Elizabeth II  -  Secretary-General Don McKinnon (since 1 April 2000) Establishment  -  Balfour Declaration 18 November 1926   -  Statute of Westminster 11 December 1931   -  London Declaration 28 April 1949  Area  -  Total...

The earlier history of the English law of defamation is somewhat obscure. Civil actions for damages seem to have been tolerably frequent so far back as the reign of Edward I (1272–1307). There was no distinction drawn between words written and spoken. When no pecuniary penalty was involved such cases fell within the old jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts, which were only finally abolished in the eighteenth century. It seems, to say the least, uncertain whether any generally applicable criminal process was in use. Edward I (17 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), popularly known as Longshanks[1], also as Edward the Lawgiver because of his legal reforms, and as Hammer of the Scots,[2] achieved fame as the monarch who conquered Wales and who tried to do the same to Scotland. ... An ecclesiastical court (also called Court Christian) is any of certain courts having jurisdiction mainly in spiritual or religious matters. ...

The crime of scandalum magnatum, spreading false reports about the magnates of the realm, was established by statutes, but the first fully reported case in which libel is affirmed generally to be punishable at common law is one tried in the Star Chamber in the reign of James I. In that case no English authorities are cited except a previous case of the same nature before the same tribunal; the law and terminology appear to be taken directly from Roman sources, with the insertion that libels tended to a breach of the peace; and it seems probable that not very scrupulous tribunal had simply found it convenient to adopt the very stringent Roman provisions regarding the libelli famosi without paying any regard to the Roman limitations. From that time we find both the criminal and civil remedies in full operation. The Privilege of Peerage is the body of special privileges belonging to members of the British Peerage. ... The Star Chamber (Latin Camera stellata) was an English court of law at the royal Palace of Westminster that sat between 1487 and 1641, when the court itself was abolished. ... James Stuart (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scots as James VI, and King of England and King of Ireland as James I. He ruled in Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567, when he was only one year old. ...

English admiralty law

In admiralty law, a libel was the equivalent of a civil lawsuit. The plaintiff was referred to as the "libellant". The verb "to libel" means "to sue [in admiralty]". Similar terminology was used in the United States legal system. The term has been rendered obsolete by the merger of the admiralty courts with tribunals of general jurisdiction and the adoption of simplified rules of civil procedure that specify "one form of action" for all claims. Admiralty law (also referred to as maritime law) is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. ... It has been suggested that civil trial be merged into this article or section. ... Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the process that courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a civil action, as opposed to a criminal action). ...

Modern law

English law allows actions for libel to be brought in the High Court for any published statements which are alleged to defame a named or identifiable individual or individuals in a manner which causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of him, her or them.

A statement can include an implication. A large photograph of Tony Blair above a headline saying "Corrupt Politicians" might be held to be an allegation that Tony Blair was personally corrupt. For other people of the same name, see Tony Blair (disambiguation) Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born May 6, 1953)[1] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Leader of the Labour Party, and Member of Parliament for the constituency...

The allowable defences against libel are:

  • Justification: the defendant proves that the statement was true. If the defence fails, a court may treat any material produced by the defence to substantiate it, and any ensuing media coverage, as factors aggravating the libel and increasing the damages. A statement quoting another person cannot be justified merely by proving that the other person had also made the statement: the substance of the allegation must be proved. The defence fails if the statement concerns spent convictions.[6]
  • Fair Comment: the defendant shows that the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held, even if they were motivated by dislike or hatred of the plaintiff.
  • Privilege: the defendant's comments were made in Parliament or under oath in court of law or were an accurate and neutral report of such comments. There is also a defence of 'qualified privilege' under which people, who are not acting out of malice, may claim privilege for fair reporting of allegations which if true were in the public interest to be published. The leading modern English case on qualified privilege in the context of newspaper articles which are claimed to defame a public figure is now Reynolds v. Times Newspapers Ltd and Others, 1999 UKHL 45,[7] and the privilege has been widened by Jameel v. Wall Street Journal Europe 2006 UKHL 44, which has been described as giving British newspapers protections similar to the US First Amendment.[8]

An offer of amends - typically a combination of correction, apology and/or financial compensation - is a barrier to litigation in the courts. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 was established by the British Parliament is an Act aimed at enabling some criminal convictions to be ignored after a rehabilitation period. ...

The 2006 case of Keith-Smith v Williams confirmed that discussions on the Internet were public enough for libel to take place.[9] Keith-Smith v Williams is a 2006 Englsh libel case that confirmed that existing libel laws applied to internet discussion. ...

Burden of proof on the defendant

In most legal systems the courts give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant. In criminal law, he or she is presumed innocent until the prosecution can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; whereas in civil law, he or she is presumed innocent until the plaintiff can show liability on a balance of probabilities. However, the common law of libel contains a kind of reverse-onus feature: a defamatory statement is presumed to be false unless the defendant can prove its truth. Furthermore, to collect compensatory damages, a public official or public figure must prove actual malice (knowing falsity or reckless disregard for the truth). A private individual must only prove negligence (not using due care) to collect compensatory damages. In order to collect punitive damages, all individuals must prove actual malice. The definition of "public figure" has varied over the years.

The English laws on libel have traditionally favored the plaintiffs. A recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights (in the so-called "McLibel case") held that, on the (exceptional) facts of that case, the burden on the defendants in the English courts was too high. However, it is unlikely that the case will provoke any considerable change in substantive English law, despite strong academic criticism of the current position.[10] European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), often referred to informally as the Strasbourg Court, was created to systematise the hearing of human rights complaints against States Parties to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by... The McLibel case is the nickname for an English court action filed by McDonalds Corporation against unemployed environmental activists Helen Steel and David Morris. ...

In 1990, McDonald's Restaurants sued Morris & Steel (called the McLibel case) for libel. The original case lasted seven years, making it the longest-running court action in English history. Beginning in 1986, London Greenpeace, a small environmental campaigning group, distributed a pamphlet entitled What’s wrong with McDonald’s: Everything they don’t want you to know. The pamphlet claimed that the McDonald's corporation sells unhealthy food, exploits its work force, practices unethical marketing of its products towards children, is cruel to animals, needlessly uses up resources and creates pollution with its packaging and is responsible for destroying the South American rain forests. Although McDonald's won two hearings, the widespread public opinion against them turned the case into a matter of embarrassment for the company. McDonald's announced that it has no plans to collect the £40,000 it was awarded by the courts, and offered to pay the defendants to drop the case. McDonalds Corporation (NYSE: MCD) is the worlds largest chain of fast-food restaurants, primarily selling hamburgers, chicken, french fries, milkshakes and soft drinks. ... Helen Steel and David Morris, the defendants in the McLibel case, at the launch of McSpotlight. ...

United States law


Laws regulating slander and libel in the United States began to develop even before the American Revolution. In one of the most famous cases, New York publisher John Peter Zenger was imprisoned for 8 months in 1734 for printing attacks on the governor of the colony. Zenger won his case and was acquitted by jury in 1735 under the counsel of Andrew Hamilton. The case established some precedent that the truth should be an absolute defense against libel charges. Previous English defamation law had not provided this guarantee. Gouverneur Morris, a major contributor in the framing of the U.S. Constitution said, "The trial of Zenger in 1735 was the germ of American freedom, the morning star of that liberty which subsequently revolutionized America." [11] John Trumbulls Declaration of Independence, showing the five-man committee in charge of drafting the Declaration in 1776 as it presents its work to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia The American Revolution refers to the period during the last half of the 18th century in which the Thirteen... This article is about the state. ... John Peter Zenger (October 26, 1697 – July 28, 1746) was a German-born American printer, publisher, editor and journalist in New York City. ... Events January 8 - Premiere of George Frideric Handels opera Ariodante at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. ... Events April 16 - The London premiere of Alcina by George Frideric Handel, his first the first Italian opera for the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. ... This page is about a famous lawyer; see Andrew Hamilton (disambiguation) for other meanings. ... Gouverneur Morris Gouverneur Morris (January 31, 1752 – November 6, 1816) was an American statesman who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and was an author of large sections of the Constitution of the United States. ...

Zenger's case also established that libel cases, though they were civil rather than criminal cases, could be heard by a jury, which would have the authority to rule on the allegations and to set the amount of monetary damages awarded.[12]

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was designed specifically to protect freedom of the press. However, for most of the history of the United States, the Supreme Court neglected to use it to rule on libel cases. This left libel laws, based upon the traditional common law of defamation inherited from the English legal system, mixed across the states. Page I of the Constitution of the United States of America Page II of the United States Constitution Page III of the United States Constitution Page IV of the United States Constitution The Syng inkstand, with which the Constitution was signed The Constitution of the United States is the supreme... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States...

In 1964, however, the court issued an opinion in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, dramatically changing the nature of libel law in the United States. In that case, the court determined that public officials could only win a suit for libel if they could demonstrate "actual malice" on the part of reporters or publishers. In that case, "actual malice" was defined as "knowledge that the information was false" or that it was published "with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not." This decision was later extended to cover "public figures", although the standard is still considerably lower in the case of private individuals. Also Nintendo emulator: 1964 (emulator). ... Holding The First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, protected a newspaper from being sued for libel in state court for making false defamatory statements about the official conduct of a public official, because the statements were not made with knowing or reckless disregard for the truth. ... Actual malice in US law is defined as knowledge that the information was false or that it was published with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. ... The ASCII codes for the word Wikipedia represented in binary, the numeral system most commonly used for encoding computer information. ...

In 1974, in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., (418 U.S. 323), the Supreme Court suggested that a plaintiff could not win a defamation suit when the statements in question were expressions of opinion rather than fact. In the words of the court, "under the First Amendment, there is no such thing as a false idea". However, the Court subsequently rejected the notion of a First Amendment opinion privilege, in Lorain Journal Co. v. Milkovich. In Gertz, the Supreme Court also established a mens rea or culpability requirement for defamation; states cannot impose strict liability because that would run afoul of the First Amendment. This holding differs significantly from most other common law jurisdictions, which still have strict liability for defamation. Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ... Holding The First Amendment permits states to formulate their own standards of libel for defamatory statements made about private figures, as long as liability is not imposed without fault. ... The mens rea is the Latin term for guilty mind used in the criminal law. ... Culpability (Blameworthiness) is the state of deserving to be blamed for a crime or offence. ... Strict liability is a legal doctrine in tort law that makes a person responsible for the damages caused by their actions regardless of culpability (fault) or mens rea. ...

In 1988, in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, (485 U.S. 46), the Supreme Court ruled that a parody advertisement claiming Jerry Falwell had engaged in an incestuous act with his mother in an outhouse, while false, could not allow Falwell to win damages for emotional distress because the statement was so obviously ridiculous that it was clearly not true; an allegation believed by nobody, it was ruled, brought no liability upon the author. The court thus overturned a lower court's upholding of an award where the jury had decided against the claim of libel but had awarded damages for emotional distress. Year 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link displays 1988 Gregorian calendar). ... Holding The creators of parodies of public figures are protected against civil liability by the First Amendment, unless the parody includes false statements of fact made in knowing or reckless disregard of the truth. ... A parody advertisement is a fictional advertisement for a non-existent product, either done within another advertisement for an actual product, or done simply as parody of advertisements -- used either as a way of ridiculing or drawing negative attention towards a real advertisement or such an advertisements subject, or... This article is about Jerry Falwell, Sr. ... Incest is sexual activity between two persons related by close kinship. ...

After Stratton Oakmont v Prodigy, 1995 N.Y. Misc. Lexis 229 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. May 24, 1995), applied the standard publisher/distributor test to find an online bulletin board liable for post by a third party, Congress specifically enacted 47 U.S.C. § 230 (1996) to reverse the Prodigy findings and to provide for private blocking and screening of offensive material. §230(c) states “that no provider or user of an interactive computer shall be treated as a publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider,” thereby providing forums immunity for statements provided by third parties. Thereafter, cases such as Zeran v America Online, 129 F.3d 327 (4th Cir. 1997), and Blumenthal v Drudge, 992 F. Supp. 44 (D.D.C. 1998), have demonstrated that although courts are expressly uneasy with applying §230, they are bound to find providers like AOL immune from defamatory postings. This immunity applies even if the providers are notified of defamatory material and neglect to remove it, due to the fact that provider liability upon notice would likely cause a flood of complaints to providers, would be a large burden on providers, and would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech on the Internet. Title 47 of the United States Code outlines the role of telegraphy in the United States Code. ...

In November of 2006 the California Supreme Court ruled that 47 USC § 230(c)(1) does not permit web sites to be sued for libel that was written by other parties.[13] Look up November in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Supreme Court of California is the state supreme court in California. ...

Defamation law in modern practice

Defamation law in the United States is much less plaintiff-friendly than its counterparts in European and the Commonwealth countries, due to the enforcement of the First Amendment. One very important distinction today is that European and Commonwealth jurisdictions adhere to a theory that every publication of a defamation gives rise to a separate claim, so that a defamation on the Internet could be sued on in any country in which it was read, while American law only allows one claim for the primary publication. The Commonwealth of Nations as of 2006 Headquarters Marlborough House, London, UK Official languages English Membership 53 sovereign states Leaders  -  Queen Elizabeth II  -  Secretary-General Don McKinnon (since 1 April 2000) Establishment  -  Balfour Declaration 18 November 1926   -  Statute of Westminster 11 December 1931   -  London Declaration 28 April 1949  Area  -  Total...

In the United States, a comprehensive discussion of what is and is not libel or slander is difficult, because the definition differs between different states, and under federal law. Some states codify what constitutes slander and libel together into the same set of laws. Some states have criminal libel laws on the books, though these are old laws which are very infrequently prosecuted.

Most defendants in defamation lawsuits are newspapers or publishers, which are involved in about twice as many lawsuits as are television stations. Most plaintiffs are corporations, businesspeople, entertainers and other public figures, and people involved in criminal cases, usually defendants or convicts but sometimes victims as well. Almost all states do not allow defamation lawsuits to be filed if the allegedly defamed person is deceased. No state allows the plaintiff to be a group of people.

In the various states, whether by case law or legislation, there are generally several "privileges" that can get a defamation case dismissed without proceeding to trial. These include the allegedly defamatory statement being one of opinion rather than fact; or being "fair comment and criticism", as it is important to society that everyone be able to comment on matters of public interest. The Supreme Court, however, has rejected the opinion privilege outright and has declined to hold that the "fair comment" privilege is a Constitutional imperative.

Defamation per se

All states except Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee recognize that some categories of statements are considered to be defamatory per se, such that people making a defamation claim for these statements do not need to prove that the statement was defamatory. In the common law tradition, damages for such statements are presumed and do not have to be proven. Traditionally, these per se defamatory statements include: Official language(s) English Spoken language(s) English 74. ... Official language(s) English Capital Little Rock Largest city Little Rock Largest metro area Little Rock Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 29th  - Total 53,179 sq mi (137,002 km²)  - Width 239 miles (385 km)  - Length 261 miles (420 km)  - % water 2. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Official language(s) English Capital Jefferson City Largest city Kansas City Largest metro area St Louis[1] Area  Ranked 21st  - Total 69,709 sq mi (180,693 km²)  - Width 240 miles (385 km)  - Length 300 miles (480 km)  - % water 1. ... Official language(s) English Capital Nashville Largest city Memphis Largest metro area Nashville Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 36th  - Total 42,169 sq mi (109,247 km²)  - Width 120 miles (195 km)  - Length 440 miles (710 km)  - % water 2. ...

  • Allegations or imputations "injurious to another in their trade, business, or profession"
  • Allegations or imputations "of loathsome disease" (historically leprosy and sexually transmitted disease, now also including mental illness)
  • Allegations or imputations of "unchastity" (usually only in unmarried people and sometimes only in women)
  • Allegations or imputations of criminal activity (sometimes only crimes of moral turpitude)[14]

For the malady found in the Hebrew Bible, see the article Tzaraath. ... A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an illness caused by an infectious pathogen that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of sexual contact, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex. ... A mental illness or mental disorder refers to one of many mental health conditions characterized by distress, impaired cognitive functioning, atypical behavior, emotional dysregulation, and/or maladaptive behavior. ... This page is a candidate to be copied to Wiktionary using the Transwiki process. ...

Singapore law

Singapore has perhaps the world's strongest libel laws. The country's leaders have clearly indicated to the public that libel, as they choose to define it from time to time, on the Internet will not be tolerated and that those they deem responsible will be severely punished. On March 6, 1996, the government made providers and publishers liable for the content placed on the Internet. Even the owners of cybercafes may be held liable for libelous statements posted or possibly viewed in their establishments.[15]

In 2001, a Singapore bank was fined SG$2 million (approx. 1 million euros or 1 million US$ at the time) for accidentally publishing a mildly libelous statement during the heated discussion of a takeover bid. The mistake was corrected very quickly, and there was no intent to do harm. In fact, it was reported that no harm seems to have been done. Nevertheless, the offended parties were awarded SG$1 million each. Apparently confirming the stringency of Singapore’s defamation law, Business Times declined to report on the matter because one of the libeled parties objected.[16]

Scottish law

In Scots law, as in other jurisdictions which base themselves on the civil law tradition, there is no distinction between libel and slander, and all cases are simply defamation. The equivalent of the defence of justification is "veritas". Scots law is a unique legal system with an ancient basis in Roman law. ... Civil law has at least three meanings. ...

Australian law

Australian law tends to follow English law on defamation issues, although there are differences introduced by statute and by an implied constitutional limitation on governmental powers to limit speech of a political nature. As with England, Australia defines slander as communicating false or insulting words about someone directly or indirectly, verbally or through script.

A recent judgment of the High Court of Australia has significant consequences on interpretation of the law. On 10 December 2002, the High Court of Australia handed down its judgment in the Internet defamation dispute in the case of Gutnick v Dow Jones. The judgment, which established that Internet-published foreign publications that defamed an Australian in his or hers Australian reputation could be held accountable under Australian libel law, has gained worldwide attention and is often (although inaccurately, see for example Berezovsky v Forbes in England[17]) said to be the first of its kind; the case was subsequently settled. High Court entrance The High Court of Australia is the final court of appeal in Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy. ... December 10 is the 344th day (345th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, 21 days before the next year. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... On 10 December 2002, the High Court of Australia handed down a judgment in the Internet defamation dispute in the case of Gutnick v. ...

Slander has been occasionally used to justify (and with some success) physical reaction, however usually the punishment for assault is only slightly reduced when there is evidence of provocation.

Among the various common law jurisdictions, some Americans have presented a visceral and vocal reaction to the Gutnick decision.[18] On the other hand, the decision mirrors similar decisions in many other jurisdictions such as England, Scotland, France, Canada and Italy.

Canadian law

As with most Commonwealth jurisdictions, Canada also follows English law on defamation issues (although the law in the province of Quebec has roots in both the English and the French tradition). At common law, defamation covers any communication that tends to lower the esteem of the subject in the minds of ordinary members of the public.[19] The perspective measuring the esteem is highly contextual, and depends on the view of the potential audience of the communication and their degree of background knowledge. Probably true statements are not excluded, nor are political opinions. Intent is always presumed, and it is not necessary to prove that the defendant intended to defame. The Commonwealth of Nations as of 2006 Headquarters Marlborough House, London, UK Official languages English Membership 53 sovereign states Leaders  -  Queen Elizabeth II  -  Secretary-General Don McKinnon (since 1 April 2000) Establishment  -  Balfour Declaration 18 November 1926   -  Statute of Westminster 11 December 1931   -  London Declaration 28 April 1949  Area  -  Total... , Motto: Je me souviens (French: I remember) Capital Quebec City Largest city Montreal Official languages French Government - Lieutenant-Governor Pierre Duchesne - Premier Jean Charest (PLQ) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 75 - Senate seats 24 Confederation July 1, 1867 (1st) Area  Ranked 2nd - Total 1,542,056 km² (595...

In the Supreme Court of Canada decision of Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto (1995) the Court reviewed the relationship of the common law of defamation and the Charter. The Court rejected the actual malice test in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, citing criticism of it not only in the United States but in other countries as well. They held that the guarantee of freedom of expression in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not require any significant changes to the common law of libel. This view came under extreme criticism following threats by then-Prime-Minister Paul Martin against then-Leader-of-the-Opposition Stephen Harper for calling the former's ruling Liberal Party of Canada a form of "organized crime." No suit was filed. See the separate article on political libel. The Supreme Court of Canada (French: Cour suprême du Canada) is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeal in the Canadian justice system. ... Holding Charter does not protect individuals from tort of defamation. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... The Charter, signed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1981. ... Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, PC, MP, BA, LLB, LLD (h. ... Stephen Joseph Harper (born April 30, 1959) is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. ... The Liberal Party of Canada (French: ), colloquially known as the Grits (originally Clear Grits), is a Canadian federal political party. ... Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. ... The 16th and 17th century criminal statutes protecting nobility from criticism in England eventually evolved into various categories of political libel (see slander and libel for the modern incarnation of this law). ...

Where a communication is expressing a fact, it can still be found defamatory through innuendo suggested by the juxtaposition of the text or picture next to other pictures and words.[20]

Once a claim has been made out the defendant may avail him or herself to a defense of justification (the truth), fair comment, or privilege. Publishers of defamatory comments may also use the defense of innocent dissemination where they had no knowledge of the nature of the statement, it was not brought to their attention, and they were not negligent.

In Quebec, defamation was originally grounded in the law inherited from France. After Quebec, then called New France, became part of the British Empire, the French civil law was preserved. However, by the mid-nineteenth century, judges in what by then had come to be called Lower Canada held that principles of freedom of expression inherent in the unwritten British Constitution over-rode French civil law in matters of public interest, and incorporated various defenses of the English common law, such as the defense of fair comment, into the local law. Such references to British law became more problematic in the Twentieth Century, with some judges and academics arguing that the basic principles of the civil law gave rise to similar defenses without need to refer to English case law or principle.[21]

Most recently (as of 1997), the Supreme Court of Canada has held that defamation in Quebec must be governed by a reasonableness standard, as opposed to the strict liability standard that is applicable in the English common law; a defendant who made a false statement would not be held liable if it was reasonable to believe the statement was true.[22]

Criminal defamation

Defamation as a tort does not infringe the freedom of expression guarantee under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Coates v. The Citizen (1988), 44 C.C.L.T. 286 (N.S.S.C.). Defamatory libel is equally valid as a criminal offense under the Criminal Code, according to the Supreme Court of Canada: R. v. Lucas, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 439. The Charter, signed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1981. ... The Supreme Court of Canada (French: Cour suprême du Canada) is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeal in the Canadian justice system. ... R. v. ...


Defenses to claims of defamation include:

  • Truth is an absolute defense in the United States as well as in Canada. In some other countries it is also necessary to show a benefit to the public good in having the information brought to light.
  • Statements made in a good faith and reasonable belief that they were true are generally treated the same as true statements; however, the court may inquire into the reasonableness of the belief. The degree of care expected will vary with the nature of the defendant: an ordinary person might safely rely on a single newspaper report, while the newspaper would be expected to carefully check multiple sources.
  • Privilege is a defense when witness testimony, attorneys' arguments, and judges' decisions, rulings, and statements made in court, or statements by legislators on the floor of the legislature, or statements made by a person to their spouse, are the cause for the claim. These statements are said to be privileged and cannot be cause for a defamation claim.
  • Opinion is a defense recognized in nearly every jurisdiction. If the allegedly defamatory assertion is an expression of opinion rather than a statement of fact, defamation claims usually cannot be brought because opinions are inherently not falsifiable. However, some jurisdictions decline to recognize any legal distinction between fact and opinion. The United States Supreme Court, in particular, has ruled that the First Amendment does not require recognition of an opinion privilege.
  • Fair comment on a matter of public interest, statements made with an honest belief in their truth on a matter of public interest (official acts) are defenses to a defamation claim, even if such arguments are logically unsound; if a reasonable person could honestly entertain such an opinion, the statement is protected.
  • Consent is an uncommon defense and makes the claim that the claimant consented to the dissemination of the statement.
  • Innocent dissemination is a defense available when a defendant had no actual knowledge of the defamatory statement or no reason to believe the statement was defamatory. The defense can be defeated if the lack of knowledge was due to negligence. Thus, a delivery service cannot be held liable for delivering a sealed defamatory letter.
  • Claimant is incapable of further defamation–e.g., the claimant's position in the community is so poor that defamation could not do further damage to the plaintiff. Such a claimant could be said to be "libel-proof," since in most jurisdictions, actual damage is an essential element for a libel claim.

In addition to the above, the defendant may claim that the allegedly defamatory statement is not actually capable of being defamatory—an insulting statement that does not actually harm someone's reputation is prima facie not libelous. Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy, François Lemoyne, 1737 For other uses, see Truth (disambiguation). ... Absolute defense is a legal concept for a factual circumstance or argument that, if proven, will end the litigation in favor of the party asserting it. ... Mistake of fact is an affirmative defense to a crime where the mistake negates the culpable mental state. ... This article is about permission granted by law or other rules. ... This article is about witnesses in law courts. ... In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. ... A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermanns Microcosm of London (1808-11). ... A legislature is a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to adopt laws. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Falsifiability (or refutability or testability) is the logical possibility that an assertion can be shown false by an observation or a physical experiment. ... Fair comment is a legal term for a common law defense in defamation cases (libel or slander). ... (This article discusses the soundess notion of informal logic. ... The reasonable man or reasonable person standard is a legal fiction that originated in the development of the common law. ... Consent (as a term of jurisprudence) is a possible justification against civil or criminal liability. ... The plaintiff, claimant, or complainant is the party initiating a lawsuit, (also known as an action). ... A person who is found to have published a defamatory statement may avail to a defence of innocent dissemination where it can be shown that they had no knowledge of the defamatory nature of the statement, there was nothing to lead them to believe so, and they were not negligent... A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. ... Negligence is a legal concept usually used to achieve compensation for accidents and injuries. ... Look up prima facie in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Special rules apply in the case of statements made in the press concerning public figures. A series of court rulings led by New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964) established that for a public official (or other legitimate public figure) to win a libel case, the statement must have been published knowing it to be false or with reckless disregard to its truth, (also known as actual malice). Holding The First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, protected a newspaper from being sued for libel in state court for making false defamatory statements about the official conduct of a public official, because the statements were not made with knowing or reckless disregard for the truth. ... // The United States Reports, the official reporter of the Supreme Court of the United States Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court... Also Nintendo emulator: 1964 (emulator). ... An official is, in the primary sense, someone who holds an office in an organisation, of any kind. ... Actual malice in US law is defined as knowledge that the information was false or that it was published with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. ...

Under United States law, libel generally requires five key elements. The plaintiff must prove that the information was published, the defendant was directly or indirectly identified, the remarks were defamatory towards the plaintiff's reputation, the published information is false, and that the defendant is at fault.

The Associated Press estimates that 95% of libel cases involving news stories do not arise from high-profile news stories, but "run of the mill" local stories like news coverage of local criminal investigations or trials, or business profiles. Media liability insurance is available to newspapers to cover potential damage awards from libel lawsuits. The Associated Press, or AP, is an American news agency, the worlds largest such organization. ... Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. ...

See also

It has been suggested that Legal terrorism be merged into this article or section. ... International Freedom of Expression eXchange. ... Lashon hara (Hebrew לשון חרא חחח; evil tongue, also transliterated as loshon hora) is the Jewish sin of gossip. ... Prior restraint is a legal term referring to a governments actions that prevent materials from being published. ... Food libel laws, also known as food disparagement laws, are laws passed in 13 U.S. states that make it easier for food industry interests to sue their critics for libel. ... Strategic lawsuits against public participation, (SLAPP) refers to litigation filed by a large corporation (or in some cases, a wealthy individual) to silence a less powerful critic by so severely burdening them with the cost of a legal defense that they abandon their criticism. ... Detraction is defined, primarily in Roman Catholic theology, as the act of revealing previously unknown faults or sins of another person to a third person. ... For other uses, see Censor. ... The doctrine of substantial truth is a legal doctrine affecting libel and slander laws in the United States. ... Media Transparency is the concept of determining how and why information is conveyed through various means. ...


  1. ^ Webster's 1828 Dictionary, Electronic Version. Christian Technologies, Inc. (1828). Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
  2. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
  3. ^ Republic of the Philippines. The Revised Penal Code. Chan Robles law Firm. Retrieved on 2006-11-24. “Art. 353. Definition of libel. — A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.”
  4. ^ Legal dictionary. findlaw.com. Retrieved on 2006-11-24.
  5. ^ Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  6. ^ Defamation - libel and slander. The Liberty Guide to Human Rights. Liberty (2002-10-21). Archived from the original on 2005-11-23. Retrieved on 2007-06-13.
  7. ^ Reynolds v. Times Newspapers Ltd and Others, 1999 UKHL 45
  8. ^ Gibb, Frances. "Landmark ruling heralds US-style libel laws in Britain", The Times, Times Newspapers Ltd, 2006-10-11. Retrieved on 2006-10-11. (English) 
  9. ^ Warning to chatroom users after libel award for man labelled a Nazi, Owen Gibson, March 23, 2006, The Guardian
  10. ^ FOURTH SECTION - CASE OF STEEL AND MORRIS v. THE UNITED KINGDOM. European Court of Human Rights Portal (15 February 2005). Retrieved on 2006-10-20.
  11. ^ attributed to Gouverneur Morris by John Francis, Edinburgh Encyclopedia, American Edition, page 400
  12. ^ http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/press/press08.htm
  13. ^ The Supreme Court of California (November 20, 2006). Barrett v. Rosenthal (pdf). findlaw.com. Retrieved on 2007-02-10. “Section 230 has been interpreted literally. It does not permit Internet service providers or users to be sued as “distributors,” nor does it expose “active users” to liability.”
  14. ^ http://www.dancingwithlawyers.com/freeinfo/libel-slander-per-se.shtml
  15. ^ http://www.law.buffalo.edu/Academics/courses/629/computer_law_policy_articles/CompLawPapers/holland.htm
  16. ^ http://www.medialaw.com.sg/DBSBankandlibel.htm
  17. ^ http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld199900/ldjudgmt/jd000511/bere-1.htm
  18. ^ http://online.barrons.com/public/article/SB109848511439553629.html
  19. ^ Murphy v. LaMarsh (1970), 73 W.W.R. 114
  20. ^ Brown, The Law of Defamation in Canada, 2nd ed. (Scarborough, Ont.: Carswell, 1994) vol. 1 at 201
  21. ^ Joseph Kary, "The Constitutionalization of Quebec Libel Law, 1848-2004", Osgoode Hall Law Journal, volume 42.
  22. ^ Kary, ibid.

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External links

Look up defamation, slander, and/or libel in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

  Results from FactBites:
Slander and libel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2958 words)
In most early systems of law verbal defamations were treated as a criminal or quasi-criminal offence, its essence lying not in pecuniary loss, which may be compensated by damages, but in the personal insult which must be atoned for: a vindictive penalty coming in the place of personal revenge.
The remedy for verbal defamation was long confined to a civil action for a monetary penalty, which was estimated according to the significance of the case, and which, although vindictive in its character, doubtless included practically the element of compensation.
Defamation law reform in Australia Proposals by the Attorney General of Australia for defamation law reform, identifying existing defects.
Defamation (2840 words)
Defamation is an injury to the reputation or character of someone resulting from the false statements or actions of another.
Defamation is a general term for the false attack on your character or reputation through either libel or slander.
The difficulty with "self-publication" defamation for the employee is that the employee has the burden of proving that he or she was psychologically compelled to repeat or publish the defamatory statements.
  More results at FactBites »



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