Concise definitions of legal terms used on the Digital Media Law Project site. (The glossary is currently a work-in-progress. Please use our contact form to suggest additional terms for this glossary.)

Actionable search for term

Sufficient to establish grounds for a legal claim.

Actual damages search for term

Damages awarded to compensate a plaintiff for the real, proven injuries he or she suffered.

See also: Damages
Actual malice search for term

The characterization of a certain type of fault regarding defamation, where the publisher made statements knowing that they were false, or acting with reckless disregard for the truth of the statements. Defamation claims involving public officials and public figures require that the plaintiff show the defendant acted with actual malice.

Synonyms: For more information see the Proving Fault: Actual Malice and Negligence section of the legal guide.
Affirmative defense search for term

A defense in which a defendant introduces evidence that will negate criminal or civil liability, even if it is proven that the defendant committed the alleged acts. Self-defense, entrapment, and insanity are examples of affirmative defenses in the criminal context.

Amicus search for term

Shortened version of amicus curiae.

See also: Amicus curiae
Amicus curiae search for term

Latin term meaning "friend of the court." Often used to refer to a person or group who is not a party to a lawsuit but has petitioned the court for permission to submit a brief in the action with the intent of influencing the court's decision.

See also: Amicus
Copyright 2007-13 Digital Media Law Project and respective authors. Except where otherwise noted,
content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License: Details.
Use of this site is pursuant to our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice.