Libel and Slander (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Two TORTS that involve the communication of false information about a person, a group, or an entity such as a corporation. Libel is any DEFAMATION that can be seen, such as a writing, printing, effigy, movie, or statue. Slander is any defamation that is spoken and heard.
Collectively known as defamation, libel and slander are civil wrongs that harm a reputation; decrease respect, regard, or confidence; or induce disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity. The injury to one's good name or reputation is affected through written or spoken words or visual images. The laws governing these torts are identical.
To recover in a libel or slander suit, the plaintiff must show evidence of four elements: that the defendant conveyed a defamatory message; that the material was published, meaning that it was conveyed to someone other than the plaintiff; that the plaintiff could be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material; and that the plaintiff suffered some injury to his or her reputation as a result of the communication.
To prove that the material was defamatory, the plaintiff must show that at least one other person who saw or heard it understood it as having defamatory meaning. It is necessary to show not that all who heard or read the statement understood it to be...
(The entire section is 5314 words.)
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