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Subject Topic: Free Speech vs Defamation of Character
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Posted: Sep-17-2003 at 1:28pm | IP Logged
PCB Webmaster
PCB Webmaster

Posts: 1098
Free Speech vs Defamation of Character

The First Amendment of our Constitution gives all American Citizens the right to Free Speech, which includes internet websites. However, Free Speech does have its limitations.

The First Amendment does not allow anyone to make false or misleading statements about you that can harm or injure your livelihood, which is known as "Defamation of Character". Nevertheless, do not confuse "Defamation" with other forms of "Dissent". Public Dissent has been protected by the highest courts throughout our history.

What is considered "Defamatory"?
Any false or misleading statement of fact that is injurious to you or your livelihood may be considered defamatory. For example, the statement "He is a crook" may be considered defamatory if it is untrue.

Truthful statements are generally not considered defamatory even if they do cause harm. For example, "I saw him switch the prices" may not be considered defamatory if it was indeed a truthful statement.

Opinions are also generally not considered defamatory even if they do cause harm. For example, "I thought the food tasted terrible." is an opinion and is not considered defamatory. On a side note, a 1-star recommendation by itself is also NOT considered defamatory because people have their own right to choose to what degree they will recommend or "not recommend" a product or service.

Nevertheless, the following grey area does exist. An opinion of an implied fact may still be considered dafamatory if the underlying fact is untrue. For example, the statement "I believe he is a crook" may still be considered defamation if the implied fact is not true and the intent is malicious.

Is responsible for actions of its users? is a Communications Network Provider with a vast user base (similar to AOL and Ebay). Under the law, we are not responsible for information transmitted by any third party, even if it resides within our website or network. In 1996, Congress passed the "Communications Decency Act" (47 USC Sec 230) that specifically protects and limits liability for Communications Network Providers such as, in the event of defamation and liabilities caused by users of their systems. provides you the ability to contact the author of any posting directly to resolve any outstanding issues.

Regardless, understands the effect defamation can have on a business and we do provide a mechanism for you to challenge any comment on that is defamatory. If you would like to report defamation, please send an email regarding the nature of abuse report to so that we may investigate the matter further.

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Disclaimer: All Listings, Ratings, Reviews and Forum Discussions displayed on this website are composed by members of the general public, and are NOT necessarily the opinions of All compositions, except for vulgarity and other maliciousness, on this website are considered Free Speech and protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

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