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How has the Internet changed the Defamation Act?

It has been argued that the introduction of the internet has had a considerable effect on The Defamation Act 1996. In order to answer this question, a brief discussion of The Defamation Act 1996 is needed. We will then consider the impact of the internet and how this has affected the law on defamation.

The Defamation Act 1996 in large part is in place to provide a defence to imputations which may harm the reputation of others. Section 1(1) and (3) of the Defamation Act 1996 states that:

In defamation proceedings a person has a defence if he shows that:

(a) he was not the author, editor or publisher of the statement complained of,
(b) he took reasonable care in relation to its publication, and
(c) he did not know, and had no reason to believe, that what he did caused or contributed to the publication of a defamatory statement.

The introduction of the internet has widened the net on the number of people who could be open to a libel or slander action against them. Recent times have seen it become more common to bring claims in connection with internet publication. In fact, internet archives allow defamatory allegations to remain accessible indefinitely.  The problem lies in the fact that copyright and privacy laws are easier to breach on internet forums and social networking sites. Under such circumstances, it may be argued that the effect of this is that it opens the floodgates to claims and that the Defamation Act 1996 does not provide enough protection to defending this.

One Response to “How has the Internet changed the Defamation Act?”
  1. 06.28.2012

    my neighbors and i have been going thurogh it for months now im black and there white they dont want us to ride down there road we also have a dirt road that leads to the back of my house to my back drive way when i use the road they spit cusss and yell at us recently i was walking down there road coming from a friends house and several of the white people were assaulting me so i ran and got two machaetes from my house i was defending yself against several people after it was over the cops and the daily news put my picture and the statement above in the newspaper which is cause me more problems with people in my town since this incident i have gotten into five fights with a white person dont get me wrong now i have many white friends and im not racist but can i sue the police department for this and the daily news for posting this in the newspaper one lady that i use to cut her grass four times a month stated to me that she could not use me anymore because of what was in the newspaper about me i need help please dont know what to do also my brother got into a fight with there dad in my yard now i repeat in my yard and they went to court and they gave my brother four years of probation its racism in the police department and did i forget i stay in palatka florida

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