[Air-l] wikipedia and defamation
jantin at SIMS.Berkeley.EDU
Mon Dec 5 20:06:06 PST 2005
An interesting side note: the distinction between 'transient' and
'fixed' communication or media appears to underlay the legal notion of
defamation. Wikipedia doesn't fit cleanly into either of those
categories. Should a work that is universally and indefinitely editable
be subject to the same requirements as traditional slander and libel? It
could certainly have an effect on an individual's reputation, but at the
same time that individual (or any other) is empowered to immediately
remove the offending passage.
School of Information Management & Systems (SIMS)
University of California Berkeley
jantin at sims.berkeley.edu
Barry Wellman wrote:
> the current AOIR debate about wikipedia highlights another problem.
> It is quite easy to make legally defamatory statements on Wikipedia.
> Normally, the remedy is a law suit for civil damages.
> But if the author is anonymous, whom does one sue?
> And yes, I know that defamation law suits are expensive and hard to do.
> But at least the legal remedy is there in principle -- when the author is
> known. But the Wikipedia approach is like someone flooding the mail with
> anonymous defamatory photocopies.
> Barry Wellman Professor of Sociology NetLab Director
> wellman at chass.utoronto.ca http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
> Centre for Urban & Community Studies University of Toronto
> 455 Spadina Avenue Toronto Canada M5S 2G8 fax:+1-416-978-7162
> To network is to live; to live is to network
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