Defamation laws have developed over several centuries to provide recourse for people whose reputation is or is likely to be harmed by publication of information about them.

In theory, the objective of defamation laws is to balance protection of individual reputation with freedom of expression. In practice, defamation laws are frequently used as a means of chilling speech. A threat of (costly) defamation proceedings and damages, whether or not a plaintiff’s claim is likely to be upheld by a court, is often used to silence criticism not only by a particular person or group but also as a threat to others.

Like almost all other laws to date, defamation is defined within jurisdictions that are based on geographical areas. The Internet is inherently trans-border in nature, with both push technologies like email and pull technologies like the web unconstrained and indeed unconstrainable by state or national borders. The cyberspace era presents challenges to longstanding laws far greater than did the broadcast media of radio and TV.

See also…

Internet Law – Forum

Attorneys, Courts, Litigation

International Law Issues