Defamation & Libel at the Forums: On Websites that Allow Anonymous Posting
Slander and Libel Definitions:
"A type of defamation. Slander is an untruthful oral (spoken) statement about a person that harms the person's reputation or standing in the community. Because slander is a tort (a civil wrong), the injured person can bring a lawsuit against the person who made the false statement. If the statement is made via broadcast media -- for example, over the radio or on TV -- it is considered libel, rather than slander, because the statement has the potential to reach a very wide audience. "--from Nolo.com
I know some of you personally and you are good people.
Some have stated that to have a legal case the assertions against the institution must
be untrue. I think this argument is incorrect. The person making the assertions
in the forum, must be able to prove that their statements are true, or the institution
could win a libel case. A relative of mine is a lawyer.
And posters beware:
Anonymity in the forums is an illusion. If someone wants to find you,
they can. They will.
Just look at all the Hollywood stars who win similar cases. Celebrities often win
even when the assertions are true but cannot be proven in a court of law.
Moderators why do you allow something that you know is wrong
to occur at your websites? Is it simply to gain more visitors and sell
more advertising? Do you get more hits on your google ads?
But wouldn`t a lawsuit cut in on revenue?
What are defamation and libel?
"Defamation is any published material that damages the reputation of an individual or an organisation. This covers material on the internet as well as radio and television broadcasts - so even drama and fiction can be defamatory if they damage someone’s reputation. You can only publish defamatory material if it comes within one of the recognised legal defences. If it doesn’t, the publication will amount to libel and you may have to pay substantial damages."--wfc.net
"Internet sites are not exempt from any libel laws. If you are publishing on the internet you are bound by the same libel laws as print publishers.
In a significant ruling in 2002, the Australian high court ruled that mining magnate Joseph Gutnick could sue publisher Dow Jones under Australian law for alleged libel online. The judge deemed that the web was no different from newspapers or television."--wfc.net
Why do you throw your values out the window and allow
anonymous posting of what amounts to libel?
I think if people are going to publish negative
reports about schools, they should be willing to
stand by what they say. They should have the guts
to publish their real name. (They shouldn`t hide behind
a pseudonym). If they do, then it is just libel
and websites that allow that libel are not worth
your time. In fact, they really should be sued.
Websites should not allow anonymous negative reports
about schools. The things that are allowed to happen
on the internet at times, would not have been allowed
to happen before the internet became popular.
(ie--Putting up a sign in your yard libeling a
neighbour or a neighbours business. It was
unheard of. The sign would have been taken down and
you would have been arrested.)
Yet that is the reality of the internet forums today.
We allow you to put up a sign anonymously. Why?
It is interesting to me, what we will tolerate nowadays.
Put it this way, if someone were to write
negative reports about certain teachers anonymously,
it would be libel. It wouldn`t be tolerated.
Why do we allow libel about businesses? And often
they are family owned and family run businesses, they are not
Why is it okay at some websites to write libel about
someone`s family business?
I think it is time, for many websites to mature, and
have some integrity about what they will allow. Getting
hits by generating controversy just lowers your standards.
I suppose this will only occur after some school goes after
and sues a website. I know of a few schools that are planning
to do this.
It will happen. Then websites will be forced
to clean up their act and not allow anonymous posting.
More on Internet Slander Cases--hit record high