Defining defamation: Community in the age of the internet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to instantly communicate with a global audience has created numerous legal uncertainties as jurists struggle to adapt age-old jurisprudence to modern-day technologies-and defamation jurisprudence is no exception. The definition of a plaintiff's community is critical to his or her ability to succeed in a defamation lawsuit, often determining whether the plaintiff is a public figure or whether the plaintiff's reputation has been injured in his or her community. This article examines federal and state defamation jurisprudence to compare the factors courts have used to define community in both traditional print and broadcast cases with the factors used in more recent Internet defamation cases. It then suggests three possible rubrics courts could employ to more uniformly define community in Internet defamation cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-264
Number of pages34
JournalCommunication Law and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Communication

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