September 09, 2012

Two videos: Libel and Slander

"The TORT LAW project is a corporate video that was created for use as an educational supplement to a series of Legal textbooks. This series of videos was produced by James Huffman and Indie City Entertainment for an established legal publishing company. This video features Diana Hart as the Attorney and James Huffman as the Client." ~YouTube Link

"Libel and slander are both types of defamation -- falsely conveying a very negative impression of another person or business. For example, if Lindsay says Joe is a convicted criminal, or is dishonest, or deals in stolen and defective merchandise, or spreads syphilis, that certainly could create a negative impression about Joe." ~YouTube Link


  1. "Libel and slander are both types of defamation -- FALSLEY conveying a very negative impression of another person or business."

    So the thing I always go back to is, what if what you're saying is TRUTH? (Is the problem that, if the person or business being "defamed" takes legal action, then you have to try and prove that it's truth? Or, they have to prove that it's false?)

  2. This is my understanding of the law and I'm not an attorney.

    The truth is always a defense and in the USA, courts are generally in favor of protecting Free Speech but that doesn't mean we can lie and maliciously defame people without suffering consequences (thank goodness, right?)

    My understanding is that the person filing the lawsuit must prove the 'defamatory material' is false. The burden is on the plaintiff and a judge can dispose of the case before it even goes to trial if there's enough evidence that the statements are substantially true.

    I'll offer you a link to the Citizen Media Law Project, a user-friendly website for folks like us: (

    "...a plaintiff has to provide convincing evidence of a defamatory statement's falsity in order to prove defamation.

    "The law does not require that a statement must be perfectly accurate in every conceivable way to be considered "true." Courts have said that some false statements must be protected for the wider purpose of allowing the dissemination of truthful speech. The resulting doctrine is known as "substantial truth." Under the substantial truth doctrine, minor factual inaccuracies will be ignored so long as the inaccuracies do not materially alter the substance or impact of what is being communicated. In other words, only the "gist" or "sting" of a statement must be correct."

    "The substantial truth defense is particularly powerful because a judge will often grant summary judgment in favor of a defendant (thus disposing of the case before it goes to trial) if the defendant can show that the statement the plaintiff is complaining about is substantially true, making the defense a quick and relatively easy way to get out of a long (and potentially expensive) defamation case." Excerpted from:

    The above link also lists several court cases as examples of what the law means by "substantially true." For instance: the person you are writing about burned the donuts ten times---not twelve episodes of donut-burning you'd written about. Or a parent spanked their child hundred times, not fifty. Stuff like that.

    I've continued browsing articles and links, making sure my prior article was substantially true. ;-P And the general consensus of every website so far is that 1) anonymity and; 2) TRUTH are preventive medicines if you don't like catching the CourtHouse Blues.

    Most of the things I'm reading refer to bloggers with journalistic websites, criticizing government, political leaders, celebrities, etc. I haven't come across a single court case yet that concerned anonymous bloggers writing about unidentified people.

    Still looking though!


    1. Your research is very thorough and extremely helpful. And timely. Thanks so much CZ. Mind if I link back to these posts on my blog at some point? (Just to point people in this direction, that's all)

    2. Please do link back to my blog! If you want to post excerpts from the article, that's cool, too. Just be sure you let readers know that I'm not an attorney nor an expert on law. I am a pretty darn good link-lady though!

      It would be great if people were informed prior to setting up their blogs--before they got themselves in trouble 'outing' the narcissist.

      I have a couple more articles to post about Safe Blogging but right now, I'm up to my elbows in tomatoes, onions and peppers canning salsa. ha! YUM...


  3. Wouldn't you think if they are allowed to lie about us we should be able to tell the truth about them?
    I am sure this is an adjunct to the liar liar pants on fire defense but the research has yet to be completed.

  4. Nothing about parental alienation?


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