What Is Defamation?
Defamation is false and unprivileged spoken words or written publication, which exposes any living person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or which causes him/her to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him/her in his/her trade or occupation.
For example, if a person or the news media says or writes something about you that is understood to lower your reputation, or that keeps people from associating with you, defamation has occurred. However, if someone says something false about someone who has died, as reprehensible as that may be, in most states it is not considered defamatory. No legal action can be taken on behalf of a dead person. Only a living person can be defamed.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Defamation Articles
- What Are Slander And Libel?
- Are Insults, Critiques And Opinions Considered Defamatory?
- Are E-Mail And On-Line Activities Subject To Laws Relating To Defamation?
- Can I Be Sued For Defamation Of Character If I Am Writing A Book Based On A True Story?
- I Think Ive Been Defamed, How Can I Prove It?
- What Damages Can I Recover From A Defamation Of Character Suit?
- What Are The Elements Of A Defamation Claim?
- What Defenses May Be Available To Someone Who Is Sued For Defamation?
- What Is Libel Per Se?
- May Someone Other Than The Person Who Originally Made The Defamatory Statement Be Legally Liable In Defamation?