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Old 02-01-2015, 11:16 PM
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Aaron Aaron is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Washington State
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Exclamation Defamation of Character

At the time of this writing, several individuals in the online community are currently being served legal notices. This will all be cataloged here at the appropriate time.

It is unfortunate that so many people think they can slander and defame people online with impunity, but they are simply deluding themselves. Some think if they are in Canada, New Zealand or elsewhere that they are immune to legal action from abroad, but they are not. And, they believe that having an anonymous online account grants them immunity, but it does not. All records necessary to uncover the identity of certain individuals can be obtained directly from their service provider with a court order once a civil suit is filed.

There are many fine, upstanding people in this community who have dedicated their lives to being of service to others to help them understand the science behind this field and to help set them on the right track just to have frauds and charlatans come along who spread lies and nonsense because they are uncomfortable with any truth that reaches beyond their own claustrophobic little world.

A system/organization is currently being developed to help those in this field who are being damaged by such defamatory actions that would normally on their own be unable to take legal action because of a lack of funds or knowledge of the legal process.

It is only appropriate that we at least post the definitions of what constitutes defamation of character for a forum that catalogs frauds, charlatans, pseudoskeptics and others who spread false information and propaganda.

DISCLAIMER - This is NOT legal advice, I am simply posting definitions from the dictionary at If you want legal advice, speak to an attorney or legal councilor.

Defamation is typically split into two categories, slander and libel. If it is slander that means it is done orally and if it is libel, it is in the form of some type of media.

Libel is also split into two basic categories, the first is the basic libel but the second is libel per se which means that the libel itself is blatantly malicious so malice does not have to be proven in order for damages to be awarded.

Read the definition of slander: Legal Dictionary |

n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another, which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit. Damages (payoff for worth) for slander may be limited to actual (special) damages unless there is malicious intent, since such damages are usually difficult to specify and harder to prove. Some statements, such as an untrue accusation of having committed a crime, having a loathsome disease or being unable to perform one's occupation, are treated as slander per se since the harm and malice are obvious and therefore usually result in general and even punitive damage recovery by the person harmed. Words spoken over the air on television or radio are treated as libel (written defamation) and not slander on the theory that broadcasting reaches a large audience as much as if not more than printed publications.

Read the definition of libel: Legal Dictionary |

1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others. Libel is the written or broadcast form of defamation, distinguished from slander, which is oral defamation. It is a tort (civil wrong) making the person or entity (like a newspaper, magazine or political organization) open to a lawsuit for damages by the person who can prove the statement about him/her was a lie. Publication need only be to one person, but it must be a statement which claims to be fact and is not clearly identified as an opinion. While it is sometimes said that the person making the libelous statement must have been intentional and malicious, actually it need only be obvious that the statement would do harm and is untrue. Proof of malice, however, does allow a party defamed to sue for general damages for damage to reputation, while an inadvertent libel limits the damages to actual harm (such as loss of business) called special damages. Libel per se involves statements so vicious that malice is assumed and does not require a proof of intent to get an award of general damages. Libel against the reputation of a person who has died will allow surviving members of the family to bring an action for damages. Most states provide for a party defamed by a periodical to demand a published retraction. If the correction is made, then there is no right to file a lawsuit. Governmental bodies are supposedly immune to actions for libel on the basis that there could be no intent by a non-personal entity, and further, public records are exempt from claims of libel. However, there is at least one known case in which there was a financial settlement as well as a published correction when a state government newsletter incorrectly stated that a dentist had been disciplined for illegal conduct. The rules covering libel against a "public figure" (particularly a political or governmental person) are special, based on U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The key is that to uphold the right to express opinions or fair comment on public figures, the libel must be malicious to constitute grounds for a lawsuit for damages. Minor errors in reporting are not libel, such as saying Mrs. Jones was 55 when she was only 48, or getting an address or title incorrect. 2) v. to broadcast or publish a written defamatory statement.

Read the definition of libel per se: Legal Dictionary |

libel per se
n. broadcast or written publication of a false statement about another which accuses him/her of a crime, immoral acts, inability to perform his/her profession, having a loathsome disease (like syphilis) or dishonesty in business. Such claims are considered so obviously harmful that malice need not be proved to obtain a judgment for "general damages," and not just specific losses.

Read the definition of defamation: Legal Dictionary |

n. the act of making untrue statements about another which damages his/her reputation. If the defamatory statement is printed or broadcast over the media it is libel and, if only oral, it is slander. Public figures, including officeholders and candidates, have to show that the defamation was made with malicious intent and was not just fair comment. Damages for slander may be limited to actual (special) damages unless there is malice. Some statements such as an accusation of having committed a crime, having a feared disease or being unable to perform one's occupation are called libel per se or slander per se and can more easily lead to large money awards in court and even punitive damage recovery by the person harmed. Most states provide for a demand for a printed retraction of defamation and only allow a lawsuit if there is no such admission of error.

More to come...
Aaron Murakami

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