Detractors and Internet Defamation

Forum: LXer Meta ForumTotal Replies: 0
Author Content

Mar 07, 2006
7:58 PM EDT
While our site grows, we have our detractors. They don't realize the meaning or the consequences of Internet defamation. If you want a gist of defamation claims they are statements made by someone to injure the reputation etc. of the party written about. The Internet has increased people's ability to speak ill of others online much easier and as a result, claims of defamation have grown.

Some people have the false belief that anything they say or write on the Internet is fair game and that they can't be touched. They believe their Internet rights prevent them from liability. They expect that their rights exceed the right of free speech.

Well, guess again. You have to really understand the issues surrounding defamation if you plan to write articles on the Internet, make posts or rant in a newsletter. If you don't know what you're doing then do what yo momma said: If you can't say something nice don't say nothing.

Sometimes defamation exists on its face per se. Sometimes you have to prove defamation harmed or potentially harmed someone. You also have a concept called privileged communications. If you don't know about your rights, privileges and defenses, you should consider that you might be putting yourself at a huge risk. If you are sued, you may not have the right to change jurisdiction and legal fees for defamation are high - really, really high.

We have an accusation of blacklisting out there. I find that interesting because we don't blacklist. As publishers we can claim we have no responsibility for the remarks made by others on our site but that may not be the case. So, we moderate. Moderating under our terms of service isn't blacklisting.

People who think that every angry thought they have should be voiced and showcased won't find our site accommodating. That's as simple as I can make it. Defame another without having a privilege to do so and we'll moderate.

Your best defense for defamation is truth. If you can collaborate an assertion, then you can report on the circumstances and the people involved. If you don't know how to vet an article or story, then take precautions.

If you flame someone, you may be hurting his or her reputation. It may seem fair and truth to you but if you can't prove it in a court of law - which also includes having the resources to pay legal fees and attorney costs - don't pull the trigger on that submit button.

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