vendredi 11 janvier 2013

Free speech & the Internet miscellany

A very interesting and influential case on jurisdiction in Internet defamation cases is Dow Jones v. Gutnick
In a unanimous decision, all seven High Court justices decided that Gutnick had the right to sue for defamation at his primary residence and the place he was best known. Victoria was considered the place where damage to his reputation occurred. The High Court decided that defamation did not occur at the time of publishing, but as soon as a third party read the publication and thought less of the individual who was defamed. . . .
 The High Court's ruling effectively allows defamation plaintiffs in Australia to sue for defamation on the internet against any defendant irrespective of their location.
An abosrbing paper on defamation in Internet times is "Should Online Defamation be Criminalized?" It available for free download.
 In 1961 the drafters of the Model Penal Code decided that defamation should not be criminalized, even though libel was a common law crime. They based their decision on two assumptions: One was that defamation does not inflict "harm" of a severity comparable to rape or murder; the other was that while defamation concededly inflicts a lesser "harm," the likelihood of its being inflicted was too slight to justify the imposition of criminal sanctions. This article argues that our increasing use of cyberspace makes the second assumption increasingly problematic, and therefore requires that we revisit the need to criminalize online defamation.
 In a similar vein, the Irish Times has covered how "A HIGH Court judge has urged the Government to introduce legislation making it a criminal offence to post 'patently untrue' allegations on the internet about any person."

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