“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. The abstract is:

Let’s say that something I posted about you in a newspaper or blog is incorrect and defamatory. 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 are still trying to find an answer and scholars continue to ignore 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.

The Article addresses a similar question. Let’s say I write about you being indicted for crime and that months later, or even years, you have been acquitted. Am I subject to defamation? 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 is offensive; however, legislatures have the ability to supplement this duty.

Please let me know your thoughts on the matter. If you are a lawyer who uses it, please let me know.