5 Important Things to Know About Online Defamation

Freedom of speech allows for everyone to speak their mind, but speaking your mind can get dangerous in an online setting. Many people think that their blog posts, Facebook comments, tweets, or private messages fall under freedom of speech. But in the increasingly murky waters of online communication, this isn’t always the case. At Hutcherson Law, our Internet defamation attorneys understand how easy it can be to speak in a defamatory manner. This is especially true if you haven’t brushed up on the laws surrounding online communication.

What to Know About Online Defamation

Online postings don’t always fall under free speech, especially when these posts are in entirely public mediums. In fact, you may be guilty of defamation by only speaking with one person! The laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to consult with an Internet law attorney if you’re unsure about the safety of what you’re posting. There are general guidelines for Internet posting, which our Internet defamation attorneys have compiled. Here are the top 5 things to know about internet defamation:

  1. Not all media laws protect you. Media Shield Laws exist to protect media organizations and their members from legal recourse. But, many states don’t include provisions for blogs or other online content. This means that you are responsible for what you post, so choose your posts wisely!
  2. Opinions are generally safer. If you are posting your opinion and make it apparent that you are doing such, you may be safer from a defamation case. Opinions are not subject to defamation lawsuits unless they imply facts that are false. Still, our Internet defamation attorneys encourage you to tread carefully. You should make it abundantly clear that you are expressing opinion, rather than fact.
  3. Cases can take place almost anywhere. When you’re putting content online, you’re putting it out there for the whole world to see. This means that if your content is deemed defamatory in Oregon, but you live in Georgia, you may have to catch a flight for a lawsuit in Oregon.
  4. Context is everything. The context of your statements or images can weigh heavily. Make sure to properly plan the layout of your pages to ensure strange combinations aren’t present. Additionally, make sure to obtain the right licenses for images and works you use.
  5. Website owners may not be responsible for comments or forums. This can vary greatly from situation to situation. In most cases, you are not responsible for comments posted by others on your website or forum. But, this doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear when it comes to lawsuits or subpoenas.

There are many grey areas when it comes to online postings and legal proceedings. If you are being sued for online content, contact an Internet law attorney that you can trust. Our attorneys at Hutcherson Law are here to help you understand your rights when it comes to online actions. If you are being sued, or if you need to get started on a lawsuit regarding online posts, our team at Hutcherson Law can help. Our attorneys are experienced in many aspects of Internet law. Contact us today to schedule your personalized consultation with a knowledgeable Internet lawyer.

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