2nd August 2006, 12:51 PM
PLEASE READ: is what I am posting libellous?
I would advise all board members to read through this easy to understand document on the liability anyone posting to a public site, such as this board, or an email list or weblog, carries:
In this case the document was assembled to help bloggers understand their responsibilities but the same considerations apply when you post to any board or email list or leave a comment on a weblog.
The US Supreme Court has said that "in the context of defamation law, the rights of the institutional media are no greater and no less than those enjoyed by other individuals and organizations engaged in the same activities."
In other words, when you make a post to a public website, board, or email list, you have the exact same liabilities as the New York Times or The Guardian and its reporters do, because by posting, you are *publishing*. This means that if you post something potentially libellous or defamatory under ANY jurisdiction in which this board is read (and UK and Irish libel law is far more restrictive on what can be said than US law), both YOU and I are potentially equally responsible and equally sue-able!
To make a distinction very clear here:
People are welcome to make a post and ask any interested members to contact them PRIVATELY for further information on an individual or a kennel or a suspicious circumstance or a website.
I am strict regarding comments about breeders and their websites. People are not ever permitted to make a post naming individuals or kennels publicly in a post to the board that raises questions about or makes allegations against the individual or kennel. Nor can you link to a breeder's website address and make a negative implication. I totally support your right to discuss such things in PMs,face to face, by phone, or in private emails. But for strict legal reasons, you cannot do so here on the board. There are of course, valid contexts in which you can express a negative opinion -- about someone's ideas (a public figure, or on the board), about an author's publication, about a show you went to, about a product or service. See the link above for details.
In memory: Lucy