Defamation in Cyberspace

8 Apr 14: $A105,000 damages for defamation via Twitter and Facebook – in the first Twitter defamation case that has proceeded to trial in Australia

5 Jul 13: NZ court adopts ‘noticeboard’ reasoning on social media defamation – If a host of a Facebook page knows, or should reasonably know, that defamatory material is posted on their page, they will be regarded as the publisher of that information

26 Mar 13: Google not liable for misleading auto-generated search terms - A US court has ruled that automatically-generated search terms that are misleading do not constitute a common-law misappropriation or an invasion of privacy

25 Feb 13: UK rules platform provider can be liable for defamatory blogs – The UK Court of Appeal has held that Google may be deemed a “publisher” of (and held liable for) defamatory user-generated content appearing in blogs hosted by Google after being notified of the content’s defamatory nature

9 Jan 13: Argentinian court rules on search engine liability - The Argentina Court of Appeals has ruled that unless web search engines have been duly notified about the existence of illicit content indexed by them, they are not liable for the content of third-party websites

20 Dec 12: Internet defamation claims on the rise as online reviews impact the bottom line - Internet defamation suits will increase in frequency as review sites become more prevalent in our everyday consumer transactions (Fredrikson & Byron)

13 Dec 12: Hyperlinks do not republish alleged defamatory material - In In re Phila. Newspapers LLC, the Third Circuit held, among other things, that linking to previously published material is not “republication” under the single publication rule (Holland & Knight)

21 Nov 12: Australian court orders Google to pay $200,000 damages for defamatory search results - In Milorad Trkulja v Google Inc, a jury found, and the court upheld, that Google was the “publisher” of defamatory images and web pages generated by the Google search engine in response to a query using the plaintiff’s name

5 Oct 12: The challenge of identifying anonymous impersonators on social networking sites - The recent case of a senior bank executive being impersonated on Twitter by an anonymous user who tweeted defamatory material highlights the difficulties of establishing the identity of anonymous impersonators (Minter Ellison)

28 Sep 12: Google’s Brazilian chief arrested over allegedly defamatory YouTube videos - Police arrested Google Brazil head Fabio Jose Silva Coelho on 27 September over his refusal to remove two videos on Google’s YouTube that allegedly slander, insult and defame an election candidate (IP Watch)

26 Sep 12: Tweet and be #damned? – Approximately 340 million Twitter messages are sent every day, of which only a tiny fraction contain the necessary ingredients of being sufficiently offensive or discriminatory, menacing or threatening, to warrant investigation and potentially prosecution (Pitmans)

19 Sep 12: User-generated ‘Top Ten Dirtiest Hotels’ list is not defamatory - A ‘Top Ten Dirtiest Hotels’ list of an online travel ratings site, based upon user comments and data, has been held not defamatory because a reasonable person would understand the list to be “unverifiable rhetorical hyperbole” rather than a statement of fact (Holland & Knight)

12 Sep 12: Google sued again for defamation by suggested search terms - Bettina Wulff, wife of former German President Christian Wulff, claims she has been defamed by Google’s automatically-generated suggested search terms “bettina wulff escort” and “bettina wulff prostituierte”

25 Aug 12: Swiss court finds Google not liable for suggested search terms - A Swiss appeal court has found that automatically-generated suggested search terms are not statements made by the search engine, and so Google has no legal liability for suggested search terms that have negative imputations

2 Aug 12: User-generated content on Facebook pages are subject to advertising standards - The Australian Advertising Standards Board has ruled that a Facebook page may be considered a ‘marketing communication tool’ when used by an advertiser (King & Wood Mallesons)

12 Jul 12: Defamation may be different on the Internet, says Canadian court – The Ontario Court of Appeal has acknowledged that the “internet blogging world” is an environment where caustic commentary and hyperbolic language may be commonplace, and has raised the possibility that different legal considerations might even apply to different Internet forums, such as Facebook or Twitter as compared to blogs.

13 Jun 12: Cyberspace defamation reform proposed in UK - The draft Defamation Bill plans to change the liability of Internet intermediaries for defamatory postings.

21 May 12: Online defamation a talking point at both ends of the world - While Chris Cairns’ successful efforts in the UK High Court to defend his reputation against allegations of match fixing made on Twitter have been widely covered in the media, an equally interesting case of online defamation has been playing out in the New Zealand courts (Buddle Findlay)

15 May 12: Potential liability in England for hyperlinks to defamatory posts - The English High Court has held that a website owner can potentially be held liable for defamatory statements which are published on a website it provides a link to, even if their website does not contain any such defamatory postings itself (Shepherd + Wedderburn)

13 Mar 12: Google wins libel case over Blogger comments – A recent UK case has held that Google is not liable for comments posted on its service (Guardian)

18 Feb 12: Twitter sued over Hardy Tweet – Twitter is being sued for defamation for a tweet by Marieke Hardy that appeared on Twitter’s homepage, and was copied by some of Hardy’s 60,897 followers and other Twitter users taking part at the time in a worldwide online anti-abuse campaign. Many also commented on the original post in ways that could be construed as defamatory (The Age)

24 Oct 11: No liability for defamation for basic hyperlinks, says Supreme Canadian Court – Bloggers, tweeters, webpage owners and other providers and hosts of internet content can breathe a little easier today following a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada that ruled that merely providing hyperlinks to defamatory content cannot make them liable for defamation (Strikeman Elliott)