Say something I wrote about you online (in a newspaper, a blog, or a social media page) turns out to be false and defamatory. Assume I wasn’t culpable when I first posted it, but now I’m on notice of the error.
Am I liable for defamation if I fail to remove or correct the erroneous material? Surprisingly, courts haven’t settled on an answer, and scholars haven’t focused on the question. Libel law is stuck in a time when newspapers left the publisher’s control as soon as they are printed—even though now an article or a post can be seen on the publisher’s site (and can do enduring damage) for years to come.
This Article also deals with a related question: Say I wrote about your having been indicted for a crime, but months or years later you are acquitted; am I liable for defamation if I fail to update the original story to reflect the new legal developments? That too is legally unresolved.
This Article argues that existing common-law principles allow for a limited duty to stop hosting material that one learns is defamatory; and that legislatures can further supplement that duty.
The Duty Not to Continue Distributing Your Own Libels,
Notre Dame L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndlr/vol97/iss1/6