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The Law of Defamation


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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5 March 2009

With the Internet growing larger and having become the market place to the world the issue of Defamation has never been more topical.

It seems that for every business (no matter how efficient or consumer friendly) there is a website, blog site or forum which has somewhat unpleasant postings regarding the services of that business.

It is common practice now for a consumer to 'Google' your company name before it engages its services. In a world where 'feedback' and 'review' are ever present it can be seriously damaging if a customer writes negative comments about you. They are after all there for the world to see.

So what can you do about them? If the statements are true (i.e. you did deliver late; your customer service assistance was not helpful etc) then there is little you can do. The most common and effective defence to a defamation claim is simply 'but it's true''.

However if the postings are not true or certainly not justified then there is something you can do.

The obvious first step would be to write to the individual that posted the material. However this is not always effective as they are hard to trace or will often ignore your correspondence. Therefore the most effective mechanism is to put the Internet Service Provider on notice of the defamatory material and insist that unless removed, the ISP will be held liable for the content.

In order to be successful in this it is important to tick all of the boxes:

a) the comments are defamatory (see below); b) you are identified in the statements and c) the statements have been published to a third party.

A Defamatory statement is one that lowers the claimant in the estimation of right-thinking members of society.

The ISP will usually remove the postings quickly.

Jody Tsigarides is a Solicitor who specialises in Internet Law and Intellectual Property Law (trade marks, copyright, design law).

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-03-08 15:33:09 in Legal Articles

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