Reputation Online DamagedQuestions frequently arise concerning the liability for defamation of someone who republishes disparaging statements written by somebody else.  These days, these questions most frequently arise in the context of internet postings.

At common law, the re-publisher of a defamatory communication is equally liable for any harm done to the reputation of the innocent subject of the communication as the original writer.

Thus, if you were to republish a false and disparaging statement written by someone else on your own website, web board, or in print, you can be held equally liable for any harm to the victim’s reputation (simply hosting a website does not necessarily lead to liability, provided that the one hosting has no reason to know of the defamatory statement, and does not actively participate therewith).

When posting statements written by others that are both disparaging and that make statements of fact concerning a third person, one must be extremely careful to ensure that those statements are completely accurate.

Michael L. Kitchen
mlkitchen@mclawfirm.com
480 994-2000