libel laws

Brian Smith-White smithwhi at
Fri Mar 11 19:13:00 EST 1994

In Article <CMEKpx.7uu at> "lamoran at (L.A. Moran)" says:
> David Kristofferson wrote (in two separate postings):
>     "*** I CAUTION READERS*** that libel laws *do* apply to anything that
>      you decide to post, so those who feel that they can say anything with
>      impunity on the newsgroups are seriously deluding themselves."
>     "I am concerned in general that too many  people believe that they 
>      can shoot their mouths off without consequence on the net and am 
>      trying to warn everyone in advance that freedom is not unlimited."
> Dave, you mentioned an article in INTERNET WORLD in which someone was sued
> for libel. Was the suit successful? I'm sure that many of us would appreciate
> it if you could find the article and post a summary.
> I assume that the trial took place in the United States and that American
> laws applied. Many of us are not American citizens and do not live in the US.
> Do you know if our freedoms are also limited by American libel laws?
This is the same as the National Enquirer (a US rag) making a libelous 
statement about a member of the Royal Family (Queen Mother for example). The
libeled individual would be able to sue in the country in which the libel 
occurred. The extension of the perview of libel laws from print and 
television to the Internet may have occurred first in the US, but this
extension will quickly spread worldwide.
> I realize that YOU are bound by the laws of your own country but does that
> mean that the rest of us have to be aware of these laws as well? Can an
> American sue ME under American law for something I said in bionet.general? 
> If so, that doesn't seem fair. Can someone in China or Cuba sue YOU under 
> their laws if they take offense at what you say? 
Mere offense at what is said does not constitute grounds for libel.
Is Iraq on the net?
Even if they were, recourse to courts is not their style of settling a
grudge! Personally, I would prefer the libel suit.
> Laurence A. Moran (Larry)

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