Can An Internet Defamation Lawyer Get Statements Removed From The Internet?

The rise of the Internet has led to a rise in online reputation legal matters. Gripe and consumer review websites are a thorn in the side of many businesses and entrepreneurs; individuals are losing jobs because of adult cyberbullying and online rumor spreading.

A ruined reputation is just a tweet or nasty blog comment away. That's why it’s important to address any and all libelous statements ASAP. The longer words fester, the more damage they do.

Hiring a knowledgeable Internet defamation lawyer -- with considerable offline libel litigation experience -- is the first step in fighting back.

Defamation 101: The Basic Elements of U.S. Slander & Libel Law

To prevail in U.S. Internet defamation lawsuits, plaintiffs must:

  1. Show that the defendant published or broadcast the statement;
  2. Prove that the statement is/was false;
  3. Prove that the plaintiff was harmed by the statement;
  4. Demonstrate that the defendants did not verify their claims.

Celebrities and public figures must meet a higher standard to win defamation lawsuits -- the standard of "actual malice."

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Online Defamation Law FAQ

Can a plaintiff win a defamation lawsuit if the defendant is telling the truth?

You’ve heard the saying: “It’s not defamation if it is true.” And yes, for the majority of slander and libel lawsuits, this adage holds true – but not always. In some jurisdictions, a judge can deem a true statement defamatory if the defendant acted with actual malice. Additionally, if you can prove, via evidence, that the defendant made a false statement of fact, then you can win a slander or libel claim – even if the defendant told the truth. (In other words, we live in an imperfect world. If the plaintiff is more convincing than a defendant, the plaintiff has a shot at winning.)

What constitutes “harm” in a slander or libel lawsuit?

Typically, a defamation plaintiff must prove material harm to win. The most common forms of material harm are lost wages, a decline in business or a sinking stocks. In some jurisdictions, plaintiffs can also point to mental anguish and other types of reputational or medical vicissitudes as actionable harm.

Is defamation a federal or state issue?

Defamation falls under the domains of both state and federal laws. Go here for a breakdown of national and state libel and slander regulations.

What if defendants truly believe their inaccurate statements?

This is one of the trickier aspects of online defamation law. Since the U.S. is a “free speech zone,” defendants are given the benefit of the doubt in defamation cases. As such, sometimes that means defendants who can adequately prove they believed their statements, win. That said, if the plaintiffs’ information is more compelling than the defendants', then the plaintiffs will win. Like any lawsuit, defamation cases turn on evidence, and whose is more convincing in the eyes of the court.

Free Speech v. Defamation

Free speech is an important consideration under U.S. defamation law. In many cases, individuals are unfairly asked to remove material that qualifies as free speech or fair comment.

Libel v. Slander

There are two main categories of defamation: libel and slander. Libel is the publication of false statements via words or images. Slander is spoken or transitory defamation.

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