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Libel/Slander/Defamation


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#1 Sandy

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 12:23 PM

In light of a recent incident, please note that if you are giving a review about something you dislike please be VERY careful about what you write.

Please be constructive in your critisism about a book, for example, without openly and publically defaming the author.

All posts that hold any defamatory remarks shall be removed or edited by the moderators here and on that note also remember, if you write it, you OWN it - so if this site is put into difficulties because of a post that you have written, please remember that you are liable for it.. so in a nutshell - if we get sued, fined or taken to court over what you have written you can be 100 percent sure that you will be held responsible.

I urge everyone who has supplied reviews and personal opinions on here about authors, books, websites etc to go through all
their own posts and amend them accordingly as soon as possible.

Thank you.

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#2 Nyxiah

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 11:37 PM

^ thanks for that Sandy, i did see those posts the other day and wondered what would happen. I will be checking my posts asap :D
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#3 soap fairy

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:54 AM

oh dear, will do chief!
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#4 LadyHawk

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 04:58 PM

If you don't like a book and give the reasons ie. in my opinion this book was badly written and basically a load of crap.....you can't be sued. If on the other hand you say...I didn't like the book, it was rubbish and the author was obviously on something when he wrote it....that's a different matter.

This litigatious nonsense is getting ridiculous, where the hell is it going to end? It will shortly be impossible to give an opinion about anything at all all. Mind you, some people shoot their mouths off without knowing what the hell they are talking about!

Had a look but I can't see that I have written anything to cause concern.

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#5 Mountain Witch

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 05:26 PM

If you don't like a book and give the reasons ie. in my opinion this book was badly written and basically a load of crap.....you can't be sued.


LH ... Unfortunately anyone can sue for anything! The circumstances stated above would most likely get the suit thrown out or dismissed (you're entitled to your own opinion but using the phrase "load of crap" opens some doors) but that wouldn't prevent anyone from coming after you and you having to hire an attorney to get out of it.

We DO live in a litigious society and careful phrasing is necessary in this day & age. Sigh.

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#6 Sandy

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 06:42 PM

Im sorry if this post may have gotten peoples backs up but you didnt have to deal with an irate author this week like we did, so please if anyone has a problem in watching what they say here that could put the site into jeopardy then go elsewhere and write your libelious posts there, not here.

There is a HUGE MASSIVE difference in providing your OPINION which is ACCEPTABLE and whom many authors are glad for the feedback, and then there are those who publically slag off the author which is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Thats all this is about and to be honest we would like this site to continue running, we would like to stay out of court and we do not wish to pay legal fees and fines just because someone cannot control themselves.

So please don't read more into this than necessary - it is only an issue you make it one.

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#7 Grymdycche

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 06:51 PM

I think Sandy was pointing out a very important distinction.
It's one thing to critique a work of art, but another to personally slam or make certain claims or statements in regards to the creator of that work.
The continued existence of movie critics and book review columnists prove that there is a safe way to opine, even in today's grotesquely overly-litigious society, and even when those critics are brutal with their review of the work; but those critiques do not extend to the creator of the work itself - that's lawsuit-land.

Hmm.. I'll have to give my old reviews a look-see but since I never claimed anyone was a dope addict, or mentally handicapped, or a thief, I should be okay...

And I absolutely believe that a forum should not be held responsible for what it's users post (within reasonable limits). One should not "shoot the messenger" so to speak. Because if it were, then legally, that responsibility should also be extended to all parties involved in the entire process, right down to the user's ISP, and at that point I think it's pretty obvious how silly it gets.

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#8 The Old Crone

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 10:33 PM

I am trying to access my account-and it doesn't seem to want to let me in-because of the new sign up account rules I guess. I don't think I wrote anything offensive about any author anyway-without listing exactly why I didn't like his/her work. If I did, and haven't noticed it-please mail me Sandy, so I can know. But something else is bugging me. What kind of author (not who) is so threatened by a little snipey banter in a chat forum? I mean, I don't remember ever reading anything like-so and so was smoking crack with her pimp etc..I saw them!! LOL! This site and everyones unabridged opinions are truly refreshing, and I most definetly enjoy being a part of it. Hey, maybe we should just start writing certain authors with secret code names-then they'll never know who were talking about! He he ! I know this is a serious matter-but I can find humour in most things-which is what anyone who gets offended looking at this forum should try, instead of becoming beligerent, bitter, and just mean
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#9 LadyHawk

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 10:50 PM

Really I don't think I remember many comments about authors (if any), so youre probably fine. As Sandy mentioned, and opinion about a book is ok, just not about the author....how many of us know that much about individual authors anyway....a few maybe. If I sounded like I was riled about it, it certainly wasn't meant like that....its just the general silliness of the suing culture thats ridiculous. It's not so bad here yet, but getting there!
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#10 Cairelle

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 02:55 AM

To ease everyone's mind, it was not a TW member that made the offending comment - it was a trollish guest posting in the guest forum - and the post was not noticed until the author stopped by and read it, and then got very upset.

You all make very good points in the above posts but the fact remains that we DO live in a litigious society, and seeing as this board is important to a lot of us, the simple fix to keep this threat away from TW is to be objective and non-personal in your critiquing.

I am a big advocate of freedom of speech, and for those here that know me, I definitely do "tear it up" sometimes, but when it comes to an issue like this - one that threatens the existence of this board - well, even I will mind how I say things in regard to someone's published work. No one's saying we can't express our opinions on a book, but we absolutely cannot bash the author personally. Can I still say I think a book sucks and give my reasons why? Yes. Can I say the author's a dumb, ugly prick? No. Therein those examples lies the difference between being objectively critical and getting us in trouble with libel/slander/defamation.

The admins and mods really do appreciate everyone paying attention to this matter.

Edited by Cairelle, 25 December 2008 - 02:57 AM.

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#11 Sandy

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 06:13 AM

This site is great and we intend it to stay that way. Nothing has changed, as KW just said it was actually a guest poster who caused us alot of problems this week, which went unfortunately unnoticed.

Most people here have posted great reviews of books and sites and I hope that you all continue to do so - it is just a small handful that tend to let the personal remarks slip in, which is not ok.

Tana and the moderators have been doing a brilliant job in doing some housecleaning this week and amending a few offending posts - but all in all, we seem to be a pretty good bunch here :) ... probably even moreso now the amount of hoops we get newbies to jump through before they even join - this really cuts out the crap and cuts down those who we feel are not appropriate for membership :)

So it has all ended on a good note. The author in question is actually really happy at how we handled the situation and might even swing past here later down the line.

And LadyHawk don't worry, we will never get paranoid like some other sites - freedom of speech is still encouraged here but personal attacks on other people in society is not accepted... which none of you have done anyway but these posts needed to be posted and these things needed to be said :)

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#12 Leachcraft

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 12:57 AM

I guess I missed this one. Without an idea of what was said, some people might not really understand what is what...Maybe this will help...

"In law, defamation (also called calumny, libel, slander, and vilification) is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image. Slander refers to a malicious, false, and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism. Related to defamation is public disclosure of private facts which arises where one person reveals information which is not of public concern, and the release of which would offend a reasonable person.Or an untruthful oath. "Unlike [with] libel, truth is not a defense for invasion of privacy."
False light laws are "intended primarily to protect the plaintiff's mental or emotional well-being."If a publication of information is false, then a tort of defamation might have occurred. If that communication is not technically false but is still misleading then a tort of false light might have occurred."

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#13 Zoe

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 07:08 PM

Wow. I don't go around "slagging people off" anyways, but I didn't know that you could get sued for something like that on the internet....Well I suppose it does make sense if you think about it. Thanks for the info. :)
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#14 AuroraFenris9

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:48 PM

What a shame that some people get carried away with their opinions and don't remember to use a little 'tact'. I've found this a very friendly site so far with a fab group of like-minded people so I certainly hope that the threat of legal action is well and truly over.
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