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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

Defamation or Gossip Law?

Defamatory statements“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…

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  • Defamation
  • Dec 07, 2016

Mathers’ Mugshot

Eryn Ramsey, Pepperdine studentEryn Ramsey, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2016 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the prompt: We recently heard in the news that an ex-playboy bunny used Snapchat to publicly body shame an overweight woman in her gym. Do you feel it was within her rights to share the nude photo of the woman? How should she have been punished?

“If I can’t see this, then you can’t either.”

So went the caption on the controversial Snapchat…

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  • Pepperdine Student Comments
  • Nov 30, 2016

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