> There are US laws regarding defamation of organizations too. In fact,
> several US states even have laws against defamation of food.
On 10/31/06, Simon Blandford <simon(a)bkinfo.net> wrote:
Thanks, that's really useful to know.
I guess the next part of the question is if there is any mileage in
following the advice on Wikipedia-Libel and me sending an email to
info-en(a)wikimedia.org listing all the defamatory statements in an
article that are either untrue or unproven in a court (or whatever level
of proof would normally be required before they can be stated as fact),
If you're the subject of that article (an officer of the corporation,
a member of the organization, a seller of the food, etc.) then yeah,
it seems like "the info team" (never heard of them before now) want
you to do that.
If not, then you should probably just remove the defamatory statement.
As for what level of proof is required, what's required in court I
believe would be a preponderance of the evidence. But Wikipedia's
requirement that everything within it is "verifiable" should go well
beyond that. If there's really any doubt at all as to whether or not
a statement is true, it should be cited *and* attributed.
Now IANAL, and I'm not an expert in libel law at all, but I believe a
statement which is properly attributed would not be libelous.
I obviously don't want to go down this route if it
is just going to
irritate, backfire or be a time-sink to the admins or if the slow
processes of challenging each and every part of the article in the
discussion page one at a time is a more appropriate way forward.
Wikipedia policies are pretty clear that the one who should be
undergoing a slow process of challenging should be the one trying to
put a statement *in* to the encyclopedia.
What about allegations against an organisation in the
There is stuff on there that is even more extreme.
As long as they're attributed to the person making the statement, I
personally don't have a problem with them. I believe policies are less
forgiving than I, but I'll let someone else speak to that.
P.S., yes, Oprah won her case, but I don't think the laws got thrown
out, just that the jury found her not to have violated them.
P.P.S., it's debatable at best that Wikipedia/Wikimedia would be
subject to any of these libel laws. They'd have a lot of defenses,
including the CDA.