Damage Awards in Internet Defamation Cases: Reassessing Assumptions About the Credibility of Online Speech by Matthew Nied [Alberta Law Review]

Posted in: Research at 05/09/2011 17:49

Abstract: There is a recent trend toward substantially higher damage awards in internet defamation cases than those involving traditional media. Higher awards are attributable to the instantaneous nature of the internet and the potential for limitless replication, as well as questionable assumptions about the credibility of internet speech when it is anonymous, presented in a style that is hyperbolic and unreasoned, or posted in a dubious setting.

Because there is a reduced likelihood that readers will believe internet libel in these circumstances, plaintiffs are likely to suffer less reputational harm. Courts should mitigate damages to avoid assessing higher awards than are warranted by the gravity of the defamation.

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