Saturday, January 25, 2020

Damned If You Do...

Social media is a minefield.

Anyone can make an accusation, anyone can repeat terminological inexactitudes, and although a reasonable person might think that it would be safe to set the record right, it's not. It might cost you.  You might give others the impression that the first person is... a liar.

And that is actionable.

John C. Greiner, writing for the law firm Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP discusses an emerging trend of using defamation lawsuits to resurrect untimely complaints of sexual assault (after the statute of limitations deadline.)

There's more this month on the topic of defamation in social media.

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, writing on Law & Government for the AZ Mirror writes about a discussion taking place in Arizona about removing the current statute of limitations, which rules that a defamed person can only sue for defamation  within the first year that a libelous comment is published online.

Given that "the internet is forever", perhaps the current law is inadequate. Unless one obsessively "googles" oneself (which may not be a reasonable expectation), it is possible that one might not discover an untruthful and scurrilous assertion within a year of it being published.  Many authors, for instance, deliberately do not read their books' reviews.

Authors are discouraged from responding to published reviews, and if a reviewer could sue an author for defamation if an author were to suggest in writing that that reviewer was veridically challenged, there's all the more reason to stay away!

For any Scottish readers, Marianne Griffin, writing for Brodies LLP and the Enlightened Thinking blog explains the Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Bill.

It's worth reading, especially for those who re-Tweet others' social media comments without great mindfulness.

Happy reading!

Rowena Cherry 

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