Invasion of Privacy and Libel Case Study example

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Invasion of Privacy and Libel Case Study

With the introduction of social media into our everyday lives, a new platform for defamation has been introduced to the society as well. Social media sites provide the people with a new way of expressing their thoughts, a new opportunity to practice their right of free speech yet it as well puts many people in danger of being sued on a variety of legal theories, with defamation being one of the most obvious ones.

The two most important statutes to discuss in regard to the legal liabilities and obligations of the social networking sites are Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. While Section 512(c) removes liability for copyright infringement from websites that allow users to post content, Section 231 of the Communications Decency Act immunises the websites from certain liabilities arising from the publication of information provided by a third person (usually in cases of defamation, privacy, negligence and so on).

Some of the most prominent cases dealing with the legal connotation of social networking follow Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v., LLC; A.B. v. State; Layshock v. Hermitage School District; J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District and Frederick v. Morse. The latter three apart from dealing with the legal concepts of social media also deal with issues such as the relationship of legal issues arising from the use of social media and the rights provided to all U.S. citizens by the First Amendment (in these particular cases the freedom of speech).

Conclusively, one can state that the use of social media in libel cases is certainly not an innovation, yet it is still quite difficult to manage, arising from the many legal aspects that would usually accompany given cases.

There are four common law privacy torts which are appropriation, false light, intrusion, and public disclosure of private facts. Intrusion is a tort based on information gathering, be it physical, mechanical or electronic. A false light tort occurs when a private and false information about a person is publicly disclosed. Appropriation is a non-consensual use of a person’s identity to advertising a trade, while public disclosure of private facts usually occurs when a private fact that would be found offensive by any reasonable is released about a third party.

Defamation covers two types of communication, written (libel) and spoken (slander). As previously mentioned, defamation can be defined as a statement that is communicated to a third party and makes a claim, either expressly or implied to be factual, that injures another’s reputation or causes others not to associate with the person or business. Importantly, a malicious intent is not generally required. (Hawkins, 2014)

In Steve’s particular case it is important to note, that in legal terms there is a difference between disclosing personal indiscretions to the members of the church, public and elders. When one is disclosing information to the church members he/she knows that it is going to be a confidential matter, and since in this …

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