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Internet Users Post Defamatory Statements at Their Own Risk

(excerpt from the article below)

As a general rule, the law of defamation provides recourse to a plaintiff that demonstrates that a defendant communicated to a third person a false statement about the plaintiff that tended to harm the plaintiff’s reputation in the community. Whether a defamation plaintiff must also always provide “concrete proof” that third par- ties actually lowered their estimation of plaintiff, and that plaintiff suffered either emotional or pecuniary harm as a result, is less clear.

Until recently, this murky area of law had experienced a trend away from the concept of presumed damages, a doctrine that in certain circumstances permitted a plaintiff to assert a cause of action for defamation despite the absence of damages. At the same time, the use of the Internet, e-mail and other electronic means of communication has proliferated exponentially.


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