September 2, 2021

What do you know about defamation defenses?

You have what you feel is a viable defamation case. Do you know how the accused could try to unravel your claim?

Digital Media Law Project explains common defamation defenses. Build your case by learning how the other side may try to tear it down.

Opinion and fair trade comment privileges

The accused could claim that rather than libel or slander, she or he only gave an opinion, albeit a harmful opinion. The person may also claim the opinion represents a "fair comment on a matter of public interest." For instance, if a matter of public interest related to the media industry involves you, the accused may claim she or he only expressed an opinion related to that matter.

Substantial truth

True statements do not qualify as defamation, but such statements do not have to represent the truth from every angle. That means that even if a statement contains small factual errors, the court may ignore them if the errors do not blur the statement's meaning. Only the statement's essence must remain accurate.

Fair report privilege

The other person may claim that she or he made the defamatory statement after reading a public official's public statement or document. The accused may clarify that the document or statement represents the defamatory statement's source and that he or she used the source accurately and reasonably.

Wire service defense

Did the other party state she or he republished information from a well-regarded news source? If those republished details turn out to be untrue, the accused may resort to the wire service defense.

It makes sense to approach legal cases from every angle. The more information you have, the better you know how to feel about the outcome.

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