Defamation - Is Hyperlinking Republication?
In its simplest form, defamation consists of untrue published statements about another that harms the subject’s reputation. While it is clear that direct publication of defamatory statements is actionable (subject to certain exceptions and “immunities”), what about linking to allegedly defamatory statements online? Is the “linker” liable for defamation? The answer appears to be “no” for the time being. According to a court in Washington State, the act of “linking” to defamatory statements is not actionable “republication,” but instead a simple “reference” to the defamatory materials. New cases will undoubtedly emerge as technology continues to affect the legal standard applied to defamation claims.