Internet Defamation Lawyers
Thinking about filing an online defamation lawsuit?
Slander and libel are on the rise. Thanks to the Internet and social media, the number of online libel lawsuits has significantly increased over the past five years.
Gripe and review websites are a thorn in the side for many businesses, and more and more individuals are not being hired because of defamatory content posted on the Internet.
Today, a ruined rep is only always one tweet or nasty blog comment away – which means it’s important to aggressively address any and all online defamatory statements ASAP. The longer they sit and fester, the more damage the words can do. Hiring a knowledgeable Internet defamation lawyer — who also has offline defamation litigation experience — is the first step to fighting back.
Free Speech v. Defamation
Free speech is an important aspect of United States defamation law. In many cases, individuals are unfairly asked to remove material that qualifies as free speech, fair comment or a genuine matter of public interest. As such, the best way to defend yourself against defamation claims, is to find a firm with both defamation prosecution and defense experience – like us.
What Is Defamation?
If someone is spreading lies about you, a defamation lawsuit may be the only thing that shuts them up.
In legal terms, defamation is the communication of any statement known to be untrue and harmful. Defamation can affect a business, an individual, a product, a group, a government or even a nation.
There are two types of defamation. Libel is the publication of false statements, via words or images, which are meant to harm. In most cases, the statement in question must be directed toward someone other than the person being defamed. Slander is the verbal version of defamation. A malicious and false statement made by one person regarding another person is slanderous. Slanderous statements are known to be untrue and are spoken to inflict harm on the subject.
To dissuade defamation, most jurisdictions permit legal actions for slander and libel. Civil actions are more common than criminal prosecutions (only a handful of states still have criminal libel statutes). The key factor in a defamation lawsuit is that the statement, whether published or spoken, must be known by the publisher or speaker to be false. One defense against defamation is truth (via the use of other civil torts, some plaintiffs do win even if the statement in question is true). Another common defense is that no harm was done.
What Factors Must Exist To Win An Internet Defamation Lawsuit?
For a plaintiff to prevail in an Internet defamation lawsuit they must:
(a) show the defendant knew the statement was false;
(b) prove they were harmed by the statement;
(c) demonstrate the defendant did not check to verify the truthfulness of their assertion.
Different Standards For Public Figures & Private Individuals In Internet Defamation Lawsuits
Celebrities and public figures must meet a higher level of proof to win a civil defamation lawsuit. In short, the “known” among us must meet the standard of “actual malice“, meaning they must prove the statement was false, caused harm, and was done with a degree of malice.
In most cases, only the living can be defamed. However, ten states have laws prohibiting defamation of the dead (Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Utah, North Dakota and Washington).
If you feel you’ve been defamed, contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your situation. Kelly Warner has experience litigating Internet defamation cases. We know the laws and how to solve your slander and libel problems quickly.