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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)

1931 – 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 the Minnesota statute granting state judges the power to…

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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)

Back 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 the government was a crime…

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  • Defamation
  • Dec 20, 2016

Defamation or Gossip Law?

“Jamie told Jesse that Frank heard from Sam…”

Statements and writings that are labeled “gossip” by both media tabloids and middle school students alike fall under a different category in the legal realm: defamation. As defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, defamation is “The act of harming the reputation of another by making a false statement to a third person.”

Defamation law is quickly becoming one of the most highly publicized topics in all of entertainment law. Public figures ranging from comedians to future presidents have shined a spotlight on some of the murkier…

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  • Defamation
  • Dec 07, 2016

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