Re: Bickering/defamation (off topic/short) ...

Subject: Re: Bickering/defamation (off topic/short) ...
From: Bob Morse <morse -at- GLOBALDIALOG -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 00:57:23 GMT

David Ibbetson <ibbetson -at- idirect -dot- com> wrote:
>Chris Hulin asks:
>Does anyone know how the law (of any country) views insults traded over mail
>lists? Can you libel or defame someone by posting personal attacks on a
>more-or-less public list?

Yes. Untruths that attack someone's character or credibility are libelous when the
comments are "published." And courts have held that "publication" includes such
things as handwritten notes on bulletin boards, and even cc's of private, personal,
paper correspondence. (Or at least that's what I was taught in my Law of Mass Comm
class 15 yrs ago.) I can't imagine how e-msgs posted to public e-forums would fail
to qualify as "publication."
Frankly I've been amazed that we have NOT yet seen an orgy of litigation arising
from all the steam we see blown in these newsgroups. (And if you guys think
techwr-l is bad, check out rec.sport.football.college!)


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