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Defamation Throughout History Part C

When is humor outrageous enough to appear unreasonable? And how does that affect a statement’s defamatory nature? In this post we’ll look into these questions, the nature of defamatory opinions, and a few cases that demonstrate recent changes in media and defamation law the Digital Age.

1988 – Defamation Via Parody (Hustler Magazine v. Falwell)

In Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, the Supreme Court ruled that a parody advertisement claiming Jerry Falwell had engaged in an incestuous act with his mother in an outhouse, while false (and deeply disturbing), could not allow Falwell to win damages for emotional distress. Falwell was…

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  • Defamation
  • Dec 21, 2016

Defamation Throughout History Part B

Today we'll take a quick look at three cases that heavily impacted the way defamation law evolved from the turn of the 20th Century all the way through the mid-1970s.

1931 – The Essence of Censorship (Near v. Minnesota)

Defamation Throughout History Part B1931 – In Near v. Minnesota, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a permanent injunction against the publisher of The Saturday Press. The paper claimed that Jewish gangs were “practically ruling” Minneapolis, aided by the chief of police. Corruption at its finest.

The Court ruled that…

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  • Defamation
  • Dec 20, 2016

Defamation Throughout History

So, where did "gossip law" actually begin? How was it formed? And how has it evolved over the centuries? Before diving deep into this fascinating world, here is a short-and-sweet version of defamation law's most notable highlights. 

1735 - Truth as a Defense to Libel (Crown v. Zenger)

Defamation Throughout HistoryBack in 1735, New York publisher John Peter Zenger was tried for defamation after publishing criticism of the Royal Governor of New York. It is hard to imagine now, although it is getting less and less difficult, but speaking out against…

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  • Defamation
  • Dec 20, 2016

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