Businesses, business owners, public figures, journalists, professionals and others spend years developing a strong and positive reputation and building a good name for themselves. All this effort can be threatened where false statements are made about them online (on blogs, message boards, etc.), on social media, in traditional media (radio, TV, newspaper & magazine articles, etc.), in books, and in other publications.
If someone impacts your reputation by making untrue statements about you or your business, you may have grounds to sue for them for defamation. Where such statements are made, it is critical to act quickly and effectively in order to minimize their impact and to ensure you comply with the short timelines for proceeding with a defamation action.
Defamation can be a challenging issue to address and a difficult legal argument to successfully make. It requires assistance from a lawyer who has significant experience representing clients in such matters.
At Baker & Company we have a well-established track record of successfully resolving defamation issues in our clients’ favour. We have been helping clients protect their reputations for more than 30 years.
Defamation falls into two categories: slander and libel. To be considered defamatory, the statements made must be made to a third party, not just the individual who is the subject of the statements. The statements made can be about a person, a business, a group, an organization, or a product that hurts the person’s (or the business’) reputation.
Slander involves spoken statements, hand gestures, etc. It is essentially defamation with no permanent record.
Libel involves defamation in writing and is essentially defamation with a permanent record. It covers statements made by the media, journalists, and others (including in newspapers – online and hard copy, on radio and TV broadcasts, etc.) as well as statements made online, in emails, in photos, and on social media.
Since written statements tend to cause injury (financial and otherwise) for a longer period of time than spoken statements, libel is generally considered more harmful than slander.
Defamation on Social Media & Cyber-Libel
As more and more communication occurs online and traditional media also moves increasingly to digital, cyber-libel has become an emerging legal issue.
Cyber-libel refers to untrue and damaging statements made on the internet, including social media (across various platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, etc.), websites, blogs, message boards, and elsewhere online.
In an era where statements made online can be instantly shared around the world, cyber-libel can be even more damaging than libel in traditional print sources. Consider the consequences: it can be difficult (or often impossible) to make a retraction or remove something that has been put online, there is potential global exposure, and there can be other, unpredictable outcomes.
In Canada, courts have thus far shown that they are quite willing to hold individuals who use the internet to defame others responsible, even if the persons making the defamatory statements are outside of Canada.
How Can We Help?
If you believe your reputation has been affected by online statements made by others, by an article or other publication, by a television or radio broadcast, or by any other public statement, contact the Toronto lawyers at Baker & Company.
We can take swift and immediate action to protect you and your reputation. We will meet with you, review the facts, examine the defamatory statements, and provide you with guidance and advice. We will take all steps necessary to have the statements addressed or removed, including notifying the publication, program, or site where the statement was made.
Baker & Company: Protecting Your Reputation
At Baker & Company we take the time to meet with you to understand your unique needs in order to offer solutions to the diverse problems you may encounter. We rely on our broad base of experience and expertise to provide exceptional legal guidance. Call us at 416-777-0100 or contact us online for a consultation.