Defamation

Britain's New Libel Bill: Better on Libel Tourism, But Worse on Anonymous Online Speech

Britain's effort to reform its defamation laws and shed London's title of "libel capital of the world" has been chugging along for several years, but now it looks like it's in sight of the last stop: The government unveiled its proposed new defamation bill in early May.  So what has all this time and effort wrought?

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How Should We Measure Damages for Defamation Over Social Media?

On April 24, 2012, a Texas jury awarded $13.78 million to a married couple in a case based upon an extended campaign of defamation on the website Topix.com - to be specific, more than 1,700 separate statements accusing the plaintiffs of a wide array of criminal activity and, shall we say, unusual sexual practices, among other misconduct.

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Judge Explains His Decision on Blogger to the Chicken Littles

Federal Judge Marco A. Hernandez got a lot of attention and cyberchatter late last year when he held that blogger Crystal Cox was not protected by Oregon's reporters' shield law, leading to a $2.5 million defamation verdict against her. See Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, No. CV-11-57-H (D. Or. Nov. 30, 2011).

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Ron Paul Campaign Gets a Lesson on Civil Liberties

Ron Paul's presidential campaign has been having a rough go of it: He has yet to win a Republican state primary or caucus.  But now his campaign's also-ran streak extends into the courtroom too, in a victory for the right to anonymous free speech.

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No, Sandra Fluke Does NOT Have a Valid Defamation Claim Against Rush Limbaugh

A Note from the Staff of the CMLP: This post contains a candid discussion of First Amendment issues, including the use of terms that some readers might find offensive. We do not censor such terms in a blog contributor's post when relevant to the topic discussed, because we believe that an analysis of the constitutional right to use certain language requires the freedom to discuss that language plainly and openly.

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Everybody's Public to Somebody?: Social Media and the Public/Private Divide

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First Amendment doctrine is sort of obsessed with the idea of a public/private divide – the idea that we can clearly slice society up into those things that are "public" (about which we want robust discussion, so we protect that discussion with the Bill of Rights) and those that are "private" (less societally important, so less protected).

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A New Heavyweight Steps in the Ring as Round 2 Begins in Obsidian v. Cox

Given the hoopla it caused a few weeks ago, you may already be aware of the somewhat notorious ruling in the Obsidian Finance Group v.

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Promoting Vetted News Content on Social Media (or, How Not to Give Your Lawyer a Heart Attack)

By now, it is a given that many journalists have a regular presence on social networking services. The value of social media for gathering information, developing the journalist’s public persona, and promoting the journalist’s work is well-recognized.

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No, the Sky is Not Falling: Explaining that Decision in Oregon

There's been a lot of buzz online (and now in the New York Times) about a decision by a federal judge in Oregon last week that held that blogger Crystal Co

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Why Blogs Can't Be Trusted, or: 'Statements Made Here Are Not Likely Provable Assertions of Fact'

The refrain that bloggers can't be trusted to produce accurate, factual information and reporting is a familiar one. Now, though, courts are beginning to give the cliche some legal bite. While in the short run those cases are wins for the individual bloggers involved, the bigger picture suggests that we shouldn't be too quick to celebrate.

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