In an ongoing series on the changing legal landscape for defamation, Law.com contributor Kevin Allen explores the issue in a three part series titled “Digital Defamation” that addresses current developments in the law of defamation, particularly those involving allegations of defamation in the electronic media. Look next month for an article addressing immunity for Internet companies.
Historically, the “single publication” rule has provided print and broadcast media with protection from multiple defamation suits arising from a single edition of a book, magazine or newspaper, or a single radio or television broadcast. See Restatement (Second) Torts �577A. For instance, the subject of a defamatory newspaper article cannot file one suit against the publisher based on the delivery of the newspaper to Mr. Smith, and a separate suit based on the delivery of the same paper to Mr. Smith’s next-door neighbor. Id. at Comment c, Illustration 3.
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