Defamation and Libel laws regarding Reviews

Discussion in 'Webmaster' started by Richie, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Richie

    Richie Administrator Staff Member

    Due to suggested legal action over a review and some libellous comments associated with it, I am posting up this information and links for everybody to have a read of and take note of when reviewing a product or site. Freedom of Speech is a noble idea – but it is not an absolute right.

    Before I start, I would like to say how, IN MY OPINION, how narrow minded a decent company or person could be to jump the gun and suggest legal action against a publication where customers opinions are given instead of coming on and and trying to defend them selves and correct any wrongs. If your product or service is sub-standard then you simply can not hide the fact by silencing people talking about it.

    9/10 times out of ten there are simple explanations for things that go wrong with a product or happens. People are willing to give a company another chance if they acknowledge and admit their mistakes and failings. It is basic PUBLIC RELATIONS- The customer is always right. A good company should be able to respond to negative comments and give reasons as to why they might be seen in a bad light. I for one admire a company whom is able to pull them selves out of a hard situation by any method that works. Words, compensation or what ever. If they can not see what they are doing wrong, then people should not even be doing business with them. If a company or a person is not able to rebut negative feedback then I think it becomes 'public interest' to have the bad feedback know to people. It works for EBay :)

    Saying that, there is no excuse for crossing the line and exaggerating false claims against a person or company. If you felt that you were unsatisfied by a product or service, then state what happened and only what happened. If you feel that you were treated badly, then say so. You are not able to say that every one is treated badly.

    Anybody can sue you for libel or defamation if they think you damaged
    their reputation, but if you can prove what you say is true, chances are
    that you won't end up in court.

    "Make it clear when you are stating your opinion," says Donaldson,
    "Always state the facts that your opinions are based on just to be safe.
    You probably won't lose a libel or defamation lawsuit if you can back up
    what you write with solid facts."

    So Remember the rules of this site that you signed up for ( RULES ), I an edit / delete any posts that I feel may be libellous or be a cause of concern, and that is the new policy of on those matters.

    Now for some technical stuff....

    What is Defamation?
    Defamation occurs where a false statement is published about a person which tends to lower that person in the eyes of right-thinking members of society. Defamation is a generic term – slander is defamation in a transient form, while libel is defamation in written or permanent (or equivalent) form. Defamatory statements include accusations of professional incompetence, or of unethical, illegal or immoral behaviour.

    It is not necessary for a plaintiff to show that he was in fact lowered in the eyes of others and suffered loss as a result, only that the statement was of a type which tended to do so.

    Who is Liable?
    In Ireland, an online publisher could be treated as a disseminator of libel in much the same way as a newsagent can theoretically be sued for distributing newspapers containing defamatory content.

    Authors (You)
    The primary person who is liable for a defamatory statement is the author. Unless you can avail of one of the defences, you should think very carefully before making that posting.
    Remember that the internet does not afford absolute anonymity and that if you post under a pseudonym or anonymously, you can still be identified via your ISP.

    Editors & Publishers (Richie)
    If you run a site which accepts submissions from authors, by accepting a submission and posting it, you have assumed the position of editor or publisher, and have therefore assumed liability for that posting.
    Likewise, if you run a message board, or a blog with a comment box, you are liable for the content of postings - both yours, and those of others. If you cannot regularly monitor your blog, to ensure that defamatory statements are removed, it may be best not have a comments facility at all. This will depend, of course, on how contentious the subject of your board or blog is.

    Every person you write something negative about won't sue you for
    defamation or libel, they might flame you or just try to set the record
    straight by replying to the message. But if you post false information
    about another user and disgrace them in public, they have the right to
    take you to court -- and they could win a big settlement if they can
    prove you were negligent.

    Misuse of the Defamation Action
    Libel is also prone to misuse by those who seek to restrict the dissemination of information. Referred to as a “strategic lawsuit against public participation” (SLAPP), it is not unknown for individuals or companies with significant resources to threaten legal action against a small entity unless they desist from engaging in particular activities. Often the activities engaged in are criticism of a particular company’s product or services, and the legal action threatened is libel.

    Interesting Links and referenced material:
    MCD to sue for Libel
    Digital Rights Ireland - Libel Laws in Ireland
    Article on IT Law
    Irish Media and Libel Laws
    Advice on avoiding libel cases
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2009
  2. Nicole T. Smith

    Nicole T. Smith New Member

    Internet forum should be an area where people exchange their views and somehow escape from reality. However, cyberbullying brings this virtual world into reality that folks may be emotionally injured. By “cyberbullying”, it means “a form of bullying in which the perpetrator chooses to harass their victim via a technological device” (see Teri Breguet, Frequently Asked Questions About Cyberbullying (Rosen Publishing, 2007) pp5), although actual situation is normally harder. Although cyberbullying involves different actionable grounds, by way of example privacy and copyright, the main focus of the essay will probably be on defamation. Within the following, typical types of cyberbullying is going to be discussed while internet and defamation.
  3. battlebridge

    battlebridge New Member

    **** and fans...
  4. MayneStream

    MayneStream Member

    Am I missing something...?
  5. bpb

    bpb Member

  6. paulie

    paulie Active Member

    ??? '''' ???

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