Pa. newspaper prevails in defamation suit over links

Monday, August 6, 2012

A federal appeals court recently sided with the Philadelphia Inquirer in a defamation lawsuit brought by a charter school company and its chief executive.

Philly.com reported that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals “found that linking to an allegedly defamatory article on the Internet does not by itself expose a publisher to charges of libel.”

The Chester Community Charter School’s management company and Vahan H. Gureghian, its chief executive, had accused The Inquirer of publishing “false, misleading, and defamatory statements about the school and Gureghian,” according to the newspaper.

The 3rd Circuit panel noted in its July 26 decision that publishers are responsible under Pennsylvania libel law for the first instance in which the defamatory material is published. The court found that linking to the article did not meet the standard of having re-published the material.

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