“The Duty Not to Continue Distributing Your Own Libels”

The official publication of my new article about this topic, which I have previously shown here, is now in Notre Dame Law Review, volume 97, pp. 315-49. This is the summary:

Let’s say that you have been falsely accused of something I posted about you in a newspaper, blog, or social media. Consider that I didn’t commit the offense when I posted it. But now, I am aware of my mistake.

Do I have to correct or remove the wrong material in order to be liable for defamation? Surprisingly though, the courts aren’t finding an answer and scholars still have not focused on this 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 addresses another question. Assume I have written about being indicted and then you were acquitted months or years later. Would I be liable for defamation for failing to correct the story? Legally, this is not resolved.

The Article claims that the existing common law principles provide a limit on the duty to cease hosting any material one discovers to be defamatory. Legislators can supplement this duty.

I’d love to hear your opinions about it. And, if it happens that you end up using it as a legal document, tell me.