Libel is to publish, write, or broadcast information that is untruthful and can harm to another person's reputation. It is the written or broadcasted form of defamation in order for one party (newspaper, organization) to bring negative opinions to another party. The publication must state the tort as a fact rather than a form of opinion in order for the second party to sue. If there is proof of malice from party A then party B may receive compensation for general damages to their reputation. If the libel from Party A happened inadvertently then Party B can only sue for actual damages such as loss of business, these are called special damages. 

Types of Defamatory Statements

Physical publishing of untrue statements may include:

  • The plaintiff is involved in a crime
  • The plaintiff is ridiculed and his reputation damaged so a third party will not work with him
  • The plaintiff's character and integrity is compromised
  • The plaintiff's wellbeing or finances is impaired
  • Any kind of physical or mental limitation that would cause third parties to not work with him

It is not necessary for the publication to state the plaintiff by name. Even if a work is considered fictional and Party A claims that a character has no connection to the plaintiff, it can still be considered libel. If there is reason to believe that the particular character refers to the plaintiff and the remarks are defamatory, then it does not matter if the author claims it is fiction or not. 

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