What to do about a case of possible on-line defamation?

UPDATED: Aug 16, 2011

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What to do about a case of possible on-line defamation?

I use a software called from a company and criticized the product for being the worst; I used slangs in a public forum for appraisers (not the company forum). The thread ended up being viewed over 6000 times, and has several pages of replies. Most appraisers were agreeing with me, but the company is now talking about suing me for defamation. Do you think they have a chance to win in court?

Asked on August 16, 2011 California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This question raises a complicated issue under the law revolving around the defense to a claim of defamation. The defense that seems applicable here would be "fair comment."  Each state defines fair comment differently. The US Supreme Court modified the common law defense in a famous case called NY Times v Sullivan, where the Court looked at the issue of actual malice of the defendant at the time that the statement was made: whether the defendant knew that the comment was not true at the time of the making.  If, in your honest opinion, and after using the product you believe it to be as bad as you say I think that you have no problem.  If it goes any further, though, seek legal help.  Good luck.

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