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What constitutes Libellous language?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by MrDigit, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. MrDigit

    MrDigit
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    I see that leamspaceman's post on his troubles with his Hitachi and a retailler failing to comply with distance selling regulations was closed due to alleged use of libellous language.

    leamspaceman posted the facts as he saw them, whist libel is posting a false statement that damages a persons reputation. The two are not the same.

    leamspaceman has not posted any false statements. Granted, the retailler in question has had their reputation damaged, but that has been caused by their own disregard of the distance selling regulations and not by leamspaceman making any false acusations.

    Digit
     
  2. reckless

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    I think the problem is that on forums such as this, people are largely anonymous and we only have one side of the story. It would be easy for someone with a grudge against a company to put in a tale to make them look bad, or give undue emphasis to one comment taken out of context.

    Therefore, how are the admins supposed to work out if a post is genuine or not? if it turns out to be a malicious poster (and please don't get me wrong, I don't think that Leamspaceman wasn't telling the truth) then then if they leave that on the forum they leave themselves open to legal action from the firm.

    The problem came though (IMHO) because he named the company. Up until that point we had no idea who the firm was but the moment he named them in a public forum things start getting very messy.

    I have extreme sympathy for him because some firms do try and make life difficult and I can understand why he's so annoyed (I would be hopping if it were me in that position). However, I don't think the mods had any option but to close it.

    It'll be interesting to see what others think of the saga. I just hope that he gets it resolved and that he's back on the board with a succesful (and acceptable) update once his ban is over.
     
  3. woody67

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    I never read the post, but would it not have been possible to tell the story without actually mentioning the firm?

    I would always want to hear both sides of the storey, or at least read a number of similar complaints against a firm, before deciding if that experience was indicative. When agreived, it is very difficult to be objective.

    On the pocketgps web site, there is a specific forum where you can post your [non-libelous!] good or bad experiences with various suppliers, and often those suppliers will answer in open forum. That is a really good idea for getting problems sorted and notifying other potential customers of a how a company deals with its customers
     
  4. pjclark1

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    In the UK you can't libel a company, You can only libel
    1) A person of note
    2) A person in the public eye
    It has to damage their PROFESSIONAL reputation or their ability to earn money.
    For example Joe Bloggs next door cannot be libeled, as his reputation has no value & he is not a member of an institution.
    You can't libel an estate agent, checkout girl, parking warden, Currys, PC World, etc.
    You can libel, teachers, nurses, etc as they are all members of a professional institution, the institution has to have a royal charter in the UK for it to count. You can also libel actors, newsreaders as they are "in the public eye"
    (you could libel me as I am a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers)
     
  5. reckless

    reckless
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    That's quite an eye opener and I had no idea of that. So what does happen then when a firm takes someone to court for saying (or writing) things that they don't agree with? What were the charges for example in the "McLibel" case? (where McDonalds took some people to court for a record length of time due to comments they made about them).

    I find it strange that I could post something here, for example saying that a retail establishment is a cheat/liar/thief/brigand/general bad egg etc and they'd have no recourse. Or am I missing something?
     
  6. wandersen

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    I don't think this is strictly correct (though it was many years ago i studied it !!) - my recollection is that any person can be libelled (they don't have to be famous or otherse), but certainly not any companies ...
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    off topic but:

    Mr Digit I see your sig is MrD. One of this forums oldest and respected posters is called MrD. Perhaps you could sign off as Digit or something rather than MrD to avoid confusion. Just an idea.......now off to read this libel

    G
     
  8. CLH

    CLH
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    Thing is, from my own personal experience, I could easily guess who he was referring to.

    Might it be the company I am in dispute with who have ignored all my emails for last two and a half weeks??
     
  9. pjclark1

    pjclark1
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    I should also point out that you can't libel someone by telling the truth
    and they would have to prove it wasn't the truth at their own expense.
     
  10. MrDigit

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    Absolutely fine by me. Im a new but occasional poster and wanted to stand up for free and, IMHO justified, speech. Unfortunately, the post in question has been censored.

    Digit.
     

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