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Oct 18, 2011 4:15 AM
Defamation is when a person makes a false statement - which could be interpreted as fact - that points a negative light on another person, business or government. Libel is the written form of defamation while slander is purely spoken. In other words, if a person types false comments online, they aren't committing slander, but rather, libel. The sole instance when online defamation is considered to be slander happens when the statement under consideration is part of an online video.

Proving defamation online can be difficult but that doesn't make it legal.Many standards have to be met in order to win an online defamation lawsuit. Moreover, the statue permits a large volume of interpretation, so each case has to be extensively examined on its own merits.

Presently, only two countries - China and South Korea - currently have language-specific online defamation regulations. Numerous states within the United States have taken legislative measures toward online defamation regulation but, there is little meaningful advancement at the federal government level.

The suicide of a young girl brought on the first attempts at federal legislation regarding online defamation in the United States. In 2006, 13-year old Megan Meier killed herself after an online male “friend” started sending degrading and insulting messages. After her death, it had been discovered that the “boy” was really an associate of Megan’s and the in addition knew the mother.

Local prosecutors did file charges against the parent and teen for Megan’s death. On the federal level, the mother of the child was found guilty of computer abuse violations of misdemeanour level. After the trial the uproar left many states in a panic to update existing laws on defamation. In addition, a federal law in Megan’s name was introduced at the legislative level. The legislation has yet to be passed since many feel it may hurt free-speech rights that are granted by the constitution.

The distinction between online defamation and freedom of speech is under heavy debate in the halls of Washington D.C. Specifically in the case of Megan, the bullying party made specific statements in quantity about Megan's character that were considered pure defamation. However, due to the nature of freedom of speech - and the power of the Internet - lawmakers seem reluctant to tighten the online defamation reins. And as more and more people plug in and power up their computers, the chances for similar occurrences will continue to multiply.

Posted by Reputation132 | Oct 18, 2011 4:15 AM | Add a comment