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FAQs About Online Defamation

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose criminal defense attorneys, online defamation, defamation claims, libel, slanderOnline defamation is a huge problem nowadays. The Internet enables the average Joe to instantly post defamatory statements with only a few strokes of the keyboard, and we now have social media websites that are so deeply embedded in our culture that defamation is able to spread like wildfire.

In fact, society has become so accustomed to reading and hearing defamation posted online that many people have become a bit desensitized to it and are no longer even able to recognize defamation when they come across it.

Consider the following information about online defamation to help shed some much needed light on this area of the law.

Q: What is defamation?

A: In a nutshell, defamation is the publication of a false statement that is unprivileged and that has the natural tendency to damage a person’s character and/or reputation. Here the term “publication” means that the statement was communicated to a third party who understood the statement. However, note that the statement does not need to be communicated to the public at large in order to qualify as being defamatory.

Q: Is defamation different from slander and libel?

A: These three terms are often confused, but the fact is that slander and libel are types of defamation. For big picture understanding, think of it this way: slander is spoken defamation while libel is written defamation. More specifically, California law defines libel and slander as follows:

  • Libel is an untrue and unprivileged publication communicated via writing, picture, printing, effigy, or other visual representation that exposes a person to contempt, hatred, ridicule, or obloquy, or causes him/her to be avoided or shunned, or which has a natural tendency to harm him/her professionally.

  • Slander is an untrue and unprivileged publication which is orally spoken and (1) charges someone with a crime, or having been convicted, indicted, or punished for a crime, (2) represents that someone has a loathsome, contagious, or infectious disease, (3) implies that someone is not qualified in respect to their office or position, (4) implies that someone is impotent or unchaste, or (5) via natural consequence causes actual damage.

Q: How long does someone have to file a defamation lawsuit?

A: In California we have a statute of limitations that prohibits most defamation claims from being filed more than one year after the date on which the defamatory statement at issue was first published. However, under the single publication rule the statute of limitations clock may start to run on a later date if the allegedly defamatory statement was later republished to a substantially different audience.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you have been victimized by defamatory statements published online, or if you have been accused of defaming someone, the experienced San Jose, CA criminal defense attorneys of Jachimowicz Law Group are here to help. We have decades of experience in civil law and business litigation in California and also frequently handle federal cases.







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