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By definition defamation is the act of injuring someone’s character or reputation by false statements. Cases of defamation are only considered attacks on if they are made in a vindictive or malicious manner. The person’s name is considered not only personal but proprietary right of reputation. Defamation is synonymous with the words libel and slander in terms of law. Defamation is a term that encompasses both libel and slander. Libel is a term used to describe visual defamation; as in newspaper articles or misleading pictures. Slander describes defamation that you can hear, not see. It is mostly oral statements that tarnish someone’s reputation.
Defamation is used mainly in politically based arenas; corporate workplace, entertainment, and definitely in politics. It can be traced back to as far as governments have been established. Different countries have various roots of laws dealing with defamation and its consequences. In pre- Roman time’s crimes dealing with slanderous and libel offences were punishable by death by law of the Twelve Tables. In Roman jurisprudence the offences were dealt with in a ways similar to modern law. Statements made in public were considered an offence, yet those made in private were not. The truth was a sufficient defense. Many libel and slander laws descend from the English law of defamation. The first documented case of libel was tried by the Star Chamber in the reign of James I. American laws regulating slander and libel began previous to the American Revolution. In one of the more significant cases New York publisher John Peter Zenger was accused and brought to trial on charges of libel. In 1734 the German immigrant published an article “attacking” Governor Cosby of the New York Colony. His case was won and the trial aquitted. This case showed the oppsite side of the spectrum, on how to fight aginst defamatory charges. Another important case occurred in 1964 in New York Times v. Sullivan. This case set a preesident for libel cases. It stated that officials could only win a suit if they demonstrated actual malice, knowledge that the information was false, and reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. In 1974 Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. the supremecourt ruled that plaintiff could not win if the statements were oppionion rather than fact. These cases helped protect the first ammendment of...

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...any claimed to have fired him for “cause” which means he had been convicted or entered a no-contest plea to a felony or had been found guilty of fraud or embezzlement. The suit seeks damages and a retraction of company statements that said Orlick was fired for "cause." This cases outcome has not yet been published.
Another controvercial case of defamation includes now Governer of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. A Hollywood stuntwoman alleged that she was sexually harassed by Schwarzenegger. She claimed that she was touched during two of the films. When she spoke out aginst Mr. Schwarzenegger his campaign staff told reporters she was a felon with a long criminal record. After this she filed a defamation suit against him for ruining her good name in the public eye.
Defamation laws along with those of privacy matters are among the most controvercial. In many cases it is hard to meet the criteria of what is actually concidered a libel and slander offence. As far back as governments can reach defamation has always been a problem and always will be. Defamation is very common and is easily found in things like propaganda, politics, magiznes, newspapers, and the television.
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