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Internet makes it easy for people in Ohio to defame others

In the past, one needed to see his or her name printed in a newspaper or magazine to claim that the lies also printed were defamatory. Celebrities made a regular practice of suing tabloids for altered pictures and false claims. These days, however, the internet makes it much easier for someone to slander another and reach an audience that goes well beyond Ohio.

If someone sees a defamatory posting about himself or herself on social media, he or she may want to bring legal action against the entity that would be able to pay the most in damages, such as the website or the Internet Service Provider hosting the content. However, the Communications Decency Act, passed in 1995, forbids defamation lawsuits against hosts or ISPs. The best option is for the victim to pursue a claim against the person who actually posted the statement.

Before this can be done, the victim must first determine if the statement is really defamation. First of all, the statement must be a lie because defamation is false statements that cause a person some kind of damage. The defendant in such a case may argue that he or she was just stating an opinion, and opinions are protected by law. However, the court may still decide that a reasonable person could interpret the statement as a fact.

It is easy for people in Ohio to use the internet to make untrue, damaging statements against others. Such posts have been known to ruin businesses, destroy marriages and even lead to suicide. A consultation with an attorney will help one understand if his or her situation is actually defamation and if there is enough cause to bring a lawsuit. While it may seem that the damage is done after enough people see the defamatory posting, one may still be able to reclaim one's reputation with the help of an experienced attorney.

Source:, "Defamation and Social Media: What You Need to Know", Accessed on Dec. 17, 2016

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