Share on Facebook Defamation of character is a wrongful act where someone makes a false statement of fact about you, and your reputation suffers harm as a result. Let's take a closer look at all three. Actual damages are compensatory damages.
Lost in the noise, however, was the fact that it did very little to improve the position of online speech.
Before Analysis of irelands defamation laws draft Bill was published, we identified several areas which needed to be addressed to protect freedom of expression for internet users. Unfortunately, only one of these areas was ultimately covered by the Act — the introduction of a single publication rule which means that internet users are less likely to be at risk of being sued for older material.
Other areas — such as the position of hosts — were left unreformed. Many plaintiffs will sue not the person who wrote the defamatory material but the internet business which displayed it.
Either way, it presents a problem for online businesses in Ireland, which face the risk of substantial damages for what users say, even though they are not responsible for what is said. Some providers, such as chatrooms and forums, do have limited protection under European law, giving them immunity from damages — provided they act quickly to remove defamatory material when they become aware of it.
This lack of certainty discourages internet providers from taking responsible steps to monitor user comments for fear that, if they do, they will be deemed to be aware of the content and therefore liable. The only solution may be to remove all material referring to them.
Simple economics encourage this. The cost of legal advice to determine whether material is defamatory, and the risk of liability, means that the safest response is taking down content or closing off debates. Bloggers are also affected. The Society of Homeopaths, for example, recently took offence at something written by Andy Lewis on his Quackometer website.
Lewis was prepared to stand firm over his comments but, rather than sue him, the society instead threatened the web-hosting company, which promptly took down his blog.
All these problems were identified by a government-appointed legal advisory group on defamation inwhich recommended that any reform of Irish law should improve the position of online providers. Surprisingly, however, the Defamation Act focused on the traditional media and largely ignored the recommendations relating to online defamation.
This leaves Ireland trailing behind other jurisdictions. Sincethe United States has given internet providers a defence in respect of material written by users. So have many EU countries, which went further than European law requires.
Ireland, however, exposes internet intermediaries to a much greater business risk of being held liable for material they did not produce. We have been successful in attracting the likes of eBay, Facebook and Google. It would be unfortunate if failure to reform the law were to risk deterring other online businesses from setting up here.
None of these points are original. However, until there is further reform it will be important to keep this issue on the agenda.In , when the English legal system raised the threshold for bringing defamation claims, Ireland was tipped as a future go-to destination for libel tourism.
And some big names have cropped up . An Act to amend the law relating to libel and slander and other malicious falsehoods. The Defamation Act may be the craziest Act ever passed by the Dail. The idea that any of the people who voted for the Constitution wanted to ban blasphemy against Islam is just insane.
May 03, · Tort Law - Defamation The Law Simplified. Loading Unsubscribe from The Law Simplified?
Cancel Unsubscribe. Working Subscribe Subscribed Unsubscribe 33K. Loading. Defamation, calumny, vilification, or traducement is the communication of a false statement that, depending on the law of the country, harms the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation..
Under common law, to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and must have been made to someone other than the person defamed. Sep 27, · Similar reforms are currently under discussion in Scotland (see the Scottish Law Reform Commission Discussion Paper on Defamation (March ) (pdf)) and Northern Ireland.
Other aspects of the Irish Act are in need of revision (see my previous posts here and here), and a review of its operation is past due.