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Internet Defamation Lawyers Near Me: What is the Single Publication Rule for Online Liable and Slander

By John DiGiacomo

Internet defamation can cause serious injury to those who are targeted and victims of online libel and slander have legal rights. Indeed, those rights can be vindicated in the judicial system by initiating defamation litigation. Libel and slander are two types of online defamation. The main difference is that libel is written defamation, while slander is defamation made verbally. During the early stages of the internet, most online defamation was libel — written — but with so much internet content being videos, podcasts and the like, online slander is now just as common as online libel. In general, defamation is the making of a false statement about someone (or business) that causes actual injury to the person (or business).

If you have been libeled or slandered online, to vindicate your rights, you will need to hire experienced internet defamation attorneys. The legal rules are complicated and you will have to act quickly. One reason is a legal doctrine called the single publication rule. Under the single publication rule, a libelous or slanderous statement posted online is legally considered to be a single statement made at the time of publication even though the statement might be read by many many people over several days or weeks and might itself be reposted, linked or otherwise rebroadcast.

This is the modern version of the old rule that only one defamation is made if the defamatory statement is made to two or more persons at the same time. That is, the legal action is for the single speaking/writing of the false statement, not for each of the hearing/reading of the false statement. The rule was naturally expanded as mass communication technology advanced. The single publication rule was applied first to newspapers, books and magazines. Even though the newspaper might have been read by hundreds of thousands of people, the newspaper could only be held liable once. The single publication rule was expanded to radio and television and now applies with equal force to online defamation, internet slander, and internet libel.

Because of the single publication rule for online defamation, as noted, it is important to act quickly to begin defamation litigation. In most states, there is only a one year statute of limitations for filing an online defamation lawsuit. A “statute of limitations” is a strict deadline by which the lawsuit must be filed with the Clerk of Court. The time period begins “ticking” from the first publication of the online defamation. In general, the time period runs even though the person or business libeled or slandered by the online content does not learn of the online defamation until several months later. Sometimes the running of the statute of limitations can be “tolled” — halted temporarily. But that is rare. There is also a legal doctrine called “republication” which is considered a separate incidence of online defamation which creates a new and separate basis for filing a defamation lawsuit.

As can be seen, you will need a proven internet defamation attorney to help.

Contact Revision Legal

If you need an experienced team of internet defamation attorneys, call Revision Legal at 231-714-0100. We are internet and social media influence attorneys with proven experience with IP protection, contract law and complex litigation. We are lawyers specializing in internet law.

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