Libel, Slander & Defamation
Concerning a reaction against an online copyright violation, we discuss the expressions Libel! Slander! Defamation!
Libel is an action for causing hurt or damage to someones reputation. Just like assault is an action for physical harm or damage.
There are two forms of the Libelous action
- If the action is in writing, it is called "defamation";
- If the action is spoken, then it is "slander".
But it is all "libel".
The truth is not always a defense in a libel action. The court can find against you even if you tell the truth if the damage can be proved and you the libeler cannot mount an adequate defense. This does vary a lot from country to country. Laws in the US allow you to say quite a lot before a court would find against you.
You would have a number of defenses against a libel (Defamation, we will treat your email as the written word) in this case. (BTW the moderator would end up in court with you for "publishing" your "defamation"). The first would be "truth" good in the USA, not so good in Canada.
- Performance of a duty (to your fellow list members)
- Protection of an interest (statements made in self defense)
- Common Interest (your fellow list members needed to be warned)
- Public Interest (Very good in the USA not so good elsewhere).
- News "There is no stopping the publication of accurate news"-*Flemming the Law of Torts.544 para 4) (Whew goes the moderator)
All in all, an action probably would not succeed, it might only waste time and money. The man's retort to your complaint would go very much against him. If I were on the jury, you would have my vote.
Do not get carried away. Whatever you say or write must not be any "improper motive;" it must not be "malicious". The issue has been exposed. You have an action in copyright. You have said what needed to be said. You must now take that action or drop the issue (or at least the company and individual names, unless you are responding or there is a further or continuing theft).
Countering breach of copyright claims
A counter action for breach of copyright should seal the matter. If you win, the man is a thief! This time the court says he is a thief. He cannot sue the court for defamation (or slander for that matter).
Libel in online reputation management...
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