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In some states, there are legal privileges protecting fair comments about public proceedings.

For example, in California you have a right to make "a fair and true report in, or a communication to, a public journal, of (A) a judicial, (B) legislative, or (C) other public official proceeding, or (D) of anything said in the course thereof, or (E) of a verified charge or complaint made by any person to a public official, upon which complaint a warrant has been issued." This provision has been applied to posting on an online message board, Colt v.

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Adding the word "dumb" merely converts "contemptible person" to "contemptible fool." Plaintiffs were justifiably insulted by this epithet, but they failed entirely to show how it could be found to convey a provable factual proposition. If the meaning conveyed cannot by its nature be proved false, it cannot support a libel claim.

This California case also rejected a claim that the defendant linked the plaintiffs' names to certain web addresses with objectionable addresses (i.e.

For example, in California, a plaintiff who fails to demand a retraction of a statement made in a newspaper or radio or television broadcast, or who demands and receives a retraction, is limited to getting "special damages"—the specific monetary losses caused by the libelous speech.

While few courts have addressed retraction statutes with regard to online publications, a Georgia court denied punitive damages based on the plaintiff's failure to request a retraction for something posted on an Internet bulletin board. Cannon) If you get a reasonable retraction request, it may help you to comply.

A public figure is someone who has actively sought, in a given matter of public interest, to influence the resolution of the matter.

In addition to the obvious public figures—a government employee, a senator, a presidential candidate—someone may be a limited-purpose public figure.Many jurisdictions recognize a "neutral reportage" privilege, which protects "accurate and disinterested reporting" about potentially libelous accusations arising in public controversies.As one court put it, "The public interest in being fully informed about controversies that often rage around sensitive issues demands that the press be afforded the freedom to report such charges without assuming responsibility for them." Some jurisdictions have retraction statutes that provide protection from defamation lawsuits if the publisher retracts the allegedly defamatory statement.But keep in mind that the truth may be difficult and expensive to prove.No—but merely labeling a statement as your "opinion" does not make it so.Freedom Communications, Inc., and would likely also be applied to blogs.

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