Five Internet Defamation Defenses

legal rulesAre you being sued for cyber defamation? Looking to mount a libel defense? Below are five strategies against online defamation charges that have worked in the past.

Internet Defamation Defense #1: Truth

Truth is always a defense for defamation, but that’s not to say that one can’t be brought up on another tort, like false light or intentional infliction of emotional distress. However, if the statement in question is provably false, then chances of winning a defamation lawsuit increase significantly.

Internet Defamation Defense #2: Fair Comment and Criticism

Many bloggers are amateur pundits that don’t have access to professionally acceptable fact-checking resources and tools. As a result, many rely on questionable sources, and then find themselves in the defamation ring. As such, the old legal standard of “Fair comment and criticism” is often used in cyber defamation cases.

Click here to read more about fair comment and criticism.

Internet Defamation Defense #3: Reasonable Comment

An important spoke of cyber defamation is the question of reasonableness. If a given statement is blatantly outrageous, a judge or jury may deem it too unbelievable to be defamatory. Many bloggers have escaped libel verdicts by successfully arguing that the material was obviously hyperbolic opinion, not meant to be taken seriously, but instead prove a point of absurdity.

Internet Defamation Defense #4: Not Damaging

If a defendant is able to prove that their statement didn’t cause the harm the plaintiff claims, a judge or jury may rule in their favor. Remember, defamation only exists when damage or harm of some sort occurs. For example, if nobody saw the material in question, it couldn’t have caused that much harm, and therefore not defamatory; as such, if a defendant is able to prove that nobody accessed the page on which the material appeared, it would be difficult for the plaintiff to prove that it caused damage.

Internet Defamation Defense #5: It Wasn’t Me – Section 230 of the CDA

Social media and user-generated content is now the norm. Moreover, a large percentage of websites are interactive. As a result, several years ago the government passed an amendment to the Communications Decency Act – Section 230. Section 230 of the CDA provides protection for website operators so they aren’t held liable for the actions of site users.

Click here to read more about the CDA.

If you are being sued for online defamation and in search of an Internet libel attorney, get in touch with Kelly / Warner Law. We have a skilled team that focuses on online defamation lawsuits. Our firm is home to both defamation prosecuting and defense attorneys — and perhaps most importantly, our rates are set with small- to medium-sized businesses in mind. Click here to send an email or give us a call at 1-866-570-8585  to begin the conversation.

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