Overview of Defamation Law - watch how you say things about people on the forum!
Just in the interests of informing all forum members about the laws regarding defamation (Slander and Libel) and how this may relate to items you may post on the forum.
If you are writing something about someone, or about a business that could be potentially damaging to that person or business, you are leaving yourself, the forum and our hosting provider and ISP open to prosecution. As a result of this, don't be surprised if you 'name' a person in a defamatory way that your post is edited or deleted by moderation.
In order to avoid such occurances, here is a little bit of info you can take a couple of minutes to read through to familiarise yourself with what you can or can't say while protecting yourself and the forum from potential action.
Slander is defined as the spoken word and Libel is written - as in forums like this one.
Libel, however, also covers radio broadcasting, even though it is spoken, as it is considered to be 'journalism' which in theory comes under print.
A good source to have a look at regarding the libel and slander laws of the UK is HERE
If you are writing about a particular person it's worth keeping the following in mind (taken from the above document) :
Spanish law is similar to UK law, as we are all under the umbrella of the European Union. International law may differ slightly, with regards to the web, but if you stick to these general rules you should be OK.You can't defame nicknames when people don't know who they are.
So, if you spread a story about Greg Dyke not paying his TV licence, but called him Big Beardo McFluffy, he can't sue, even if he knows you are referring to him - unless other people know him by the same nickname.
On the internet the rules are exactly the same. There are no special internet defences. The only advantage is that web sites tend to have a smaller number of users, (so less people see it hence it's less defamatory so it's rarely worth the bother of going to court) and allegations can be removed promptly on protest from a defamed party.
On the web, the writer, the web site owner and the ISP can all be sued just like the writer, the magazine and the distributor in the print field. A link could also be potentially defamatory if you are linking to defamatory material.
Make sure you have substantial proof to back up any claims if you are going to put anything down in print. If someone chooses to prosecute you based on your comments, it's up to you to prove you're right, not them. They are innocent until the comments are proven correct. - Basically, if you can prove it, write it. If you can't, don't.
Try not to use people's real names - If a mate told you 'Sue from Blinker's Bar got sacked for stealing' either substitute Sue for another completely made-up name (that is obviously made-up, like Bubbles or something) or omit the name completely and the name of the Bar, if possible.
Here's a story on Spanish Defamation Law
and here's another quote about Spanish Defamation Law :
In Spain, defamation lawsuits can follow one of two paths:
a) The most serious cases may be criminally prosecuted based on the 1995 Penal Code,
articles 205 and following (libel and slander, private crimes that can be tried only after the
aggrieved party files suit). The case is decided in a criminal process by either a judge or
court, and the defendant may also be held liable for the compensation of damages.
b) Cases that are less serious, or that are similar to the preceding ones but the plaintiff does
not pursue a criminal lawsuit, may be tried as civil lawsuits. The judge or a court without a
jury may require the defendant to provide compensation, publish the resulting decision,
and/or abstain from future acts of defamation.
In Spain, a criminal case of this type follows a two step legal process:
it is first tried before a judge, and then before a court. The case may be appealed before the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court and may eventually be reviewed in the Constitutional Court. It is difficult to explain the coexistence of two Supreme Courts in Europe: the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Judicially speaking, continental Europe is not monotheistic.
A civil lawsuit is similar.
Lawsuits usually last between five and six years, initiating with a claim and ending with the Supreme Court’s decision. The lawsuit may take at least two years longer if it is sent to the Constitutional Court.
Source : http://www.indret.com/rcs_articulos/...o_captions.pdf