Monday, March 22, 2010
Leslie Yalof Garfield, Pace University School of Law, has published Birds of a Feather: Libel and Slander in the Age of Twitter. Here is the abstract.
This article focuses on the whether defamatory text messages should be treated as libel or slander. The law treats written defamation and spoken defamation differently; requiring stricter standards for recovery from defamatory verbal communication. Recent lawsuits have tested the boundaries of this century’s old law, which does not contemplated the kind of instant non-permanent texting communication that mobile phones now permit. Decades ago, the advent of broadcast journalism suggested the need to treat communication through the airwaves as something different than written words, even when the communication was broadcast from a written script. This article argues that texting, like broadcast communications, comes with its own set of rules, not contemplated at common law, and that the circumstances surrounding defamatory information communicated via texting demand that it be labeled as slander.Download the paper from SSRN at the link.