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Defamacast:

To my surprise, this is a fairly well-established legal term in Georgia, with 18 references -- the earliest in 1962 and the most recent earlier this month.

The term is the Georgia courts' attempt to avoid the conceptual difficulty of deciding whether radio and television broadcasts should be labeled "libel" or "slander." Outside broadcasting, libel has traditionally referred to defamation by writing, pictures, or symbolic displays, and "slander" to defamation by speaking or some other sounds. Historically, the plaintiff had a harder time prevailing in civil slander cases than in civil libel cases; in an era where criminal libel prosecutions were common, libel was criminally punishable but slander generally was not; and more generally, slander, being evanescent, was generally seen as less harmful than libel. Defamation in broadcasting tended to consist of spoken words (though of course defamation on television could involve a writing), so it sounded like slander; but it had a large audience, so it sounded like libel. Different states pigeonholed broadcasting defamation in one or the other category, but Georgia decided to solve the problem by coining a new term.

So use it wisely, which is to say not at all outside Georgia. But don't be surprised if you hear it.

neurodoc:
Does the difference between "libel" and "slander" in terms of the respective consequences, if ever that great, lessen as modern means of recording have seen the spoken word more often preserved in one way or another and out there to be replayed many times over (e.g., YouTube - is that a "broadcast"?), hence no longer so evanescent and arguably less harmful?

As a practical matter, it was harder for a plaintiff to prevail when suing for slander than for libel, or as a matter of law, the former was harder than the latter? If harder as a matter of law, what obstacles did one have to overcome in a slander case that they didn't have to overcome in a libel case? Hard for me to see why slander and libel should be treated any differently.
7.30.2008 1:44am
Fub:
Different states pigeonholed broadcasting defamation in one or the other category, but Georgia decided to solve the problem by coining a new term.
Better a neologism than garbling the definition of slander with the classical definition of libel per se, as in California's Civil Code Section 46.
7.30.2008 3:21am
Bill N:
Defamacast. noun; Anthing written or spoken that can reasonably be construed as critical of President Obama after he signed into law the 2009 Fairness Doctrine Act. Punishable by fine, imprisonment, or a month of continuous viewing of Keith Olberman.
7.30.2008 10:31am
Matt C. Sanchez (mail) (www):
neurodoc,

The most common difference in states' defamation laws is that slander requires more proof of harm, because slander occurs ephemerally. A libelous statement theoretically "sticks around," so whether or not it harmed the plaintiff is less dependent on what exactly happened when it was issued (i.e. when the slander was spoken).

As to the Internet, most everyone has collectively agreed that any actionable speech that happens online is libel -- so much so that they use the term "defamation" interchangeably with "libel."

Given the advances in recording technology it's hard to imagine that much broadcast content will continue to constitute slander.
7.30.2008 10:42am
Mhoram:

... or a month of continuous viewing of Keith Olberman.


Wouldn't that be a serious 8th Amendment violation?
7.30.2008 11:23am
Bill N:
Wouldn't that be a serious 8th Amendment violation?

Cruel, yes, but given Olberman's rising popularity, not unusual. Besides, given that no states in recent years have banned Olberman's show, I'm sure Justice Kennedy and his colleagues in Kennedy (the case) would find a national consensus that viewing Olberman is well within "evolving standards of decency."
7.30.2008 1:02pm