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Although the internet and online publication represents a revolutionary, multiplatform, fast and accessible new medium for communication it is still subject to the law of defamation. This is because much of the law of defamation can be applied equally to publication online as to publication offline, whether oral or written, in spreadsheet or video form. In many ways, existing principles of defamation law easily stretch and accommodate with the online forum as the principles of defamation remain the same. An appointment with a specialised Defamation Lawyer could be greatly useful if you are involved in an Internet Defamation matter.

In certain other respects, however, the internet poses particular and difficult questions for the law of defamation, and challenges traditional distinctions and rules. Much of the complexity of the law in this area flows from the substantially altered relationship between publisher, distributor and reader which exists online, which some would contend involves a recognition of the internet as a forum for true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity. With online publication, traditional roles in relation to a publication do not always apply and it may be difficult to identify the party who is liable. Many actors may be liable at different levels such as ISP, moderators of chats room, website operator, sponsors and anonymous commentators.  Holistic and structured legal advice from a Defamation Lawyer can assist you in understanding the intricacies and details in this area of law.

One of the most distinctive features of publication on the internet is its interconnectedness: the ability for a user to move from one website to another with relative ease through such mechanisms such as hyperlinks. This element of internet communication has given rise to a steadily growing body of law regarding the legality of the practice, primarily focused on the question of whether linking involves some infringement of intellectual property rights.

In addition the nature of internet publications is functionally entirely different to other forms of human communication; it can easily be changed, modified or blocked, it is internationally accessible and it is often accompanied by contributions or comments from many persons. Publication on the internet has radically altered the status quo and challenged traditional analyses of the flow of information and communication, particularly in its effect on mass media. No longer is an individual effectively denied the opportunity to widely disseminate an independent point of view. Thorough and detailed legal advice from a Defamation Lawyer can assist you in understanding the complexities and nuances in Internet Defamation Law.

Laws regulating the internet have also undergone significant progress and reform. During the early days of the internet there was more openness and little control, followed by the “access denied” period when countries erected filters or other means to block access to certain information; then the “access controlled” period, where countries have emphasized regulatory approaches which are layered on top of filters and blocks in a more subtle fashion; and the current period which can be described as  the “access contested” environment where internet content available is able to be contested as there is the provision of complaints mechanisms and remedies which facilitate a complaints process aimed at the correction or removal of material from the internet. Being properly advised by a Defamation Lawyer would potentially be necessary when you are facing a claim for defamation on the internet.

If you need further legal advice on your defamation matter, you may book an appointment with us by telephone on (02) 9233 4048 or by email to info@navado.com.au. 

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