This page highlights studies of defamation (online and offline),
along with memoirs and accounts of particular cases.
It covers -
For a cogent introduction see Matthew Collins' The Law
of Defamation & the Internet (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press
2001), Andrew Kenyon's Defamation: Comparative Law and
Practice (London: UCL Press 2006), Paul Mitchell's The
Making of the Modern Law of Defamation (Oxford: Hart
2005) and The Right To Speak Ill: Defamation, Reputation
& Free Speech (Durham: Carolina Academic Press 2006)
by Russell Weaver, Andrew Kenyon, David Partlett & Clive
The Australian regime is explored in academic works such as
Michael Gillooly's The Law of Defamation in Australia
& New Zealand (Sydney: Federation Press 1998), Patrick
George's Defamation Law In Australia (Cambridge:
Cambridge Uni Press 2006), Australian Media Law (Sydney:
LBC 2004) edited by Des Butler & Sharon Rodrick, and David
Lindsay's 2000 study
Liability for the Publication of Defamatory Material via the
Primers include Geoffrey Gibson's The Journalist's Companion
to Australian Law (Carlton South: Melbourne Uni Press
1998) and Mark Pearson's The Journalist's Guide to Media
Law (Sydney: Allen & Unwin).
For the US see in particular Protecting the Best Men:
An Interpretive History of the Law of Libel (Chapel Hill:
Uni of North Carolina Press 1988) by Norman Rosenberg, Libel
& the First Amendment: Legal History and Practice in Print
& Broadcasting (Lanham: Transaction 1987) by Richard
Labunski, The Law of defamation in American political
campaigns: The emerging protection of political commentary,
1800-1964 (Ann Arbor: UMI 1989) by Robert Anderson, Richard
Posner's Law and Literature: A Misunderstood Relation
(Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 1997), Rodney Smolla's Suing
the Press: Libel, the Media, and Power (New York: Oxford
Uni Press 1986) and works on free speech highlighted here,
such as Lawrence Friedman's A History of American Law
in the 20th Century (New Haven: Yale Uni Press 2002)
and Donald Gillmor's Power, Publicity, and the Abuse of
Libel Law (New York: Oxford Uni Press 1992).
For the UK points of entry to the legal literature are provided
by David Price & Korieh Duodu's Defamation: Law, Procedure
and Practice (London: Sweet & Maxwell 2003), Patrick
Milmo & W Rogers' Gatley on Libel and Slander (London:
Sweet & Maxwell 1998), Power, Publicity & the
Abuse of Libel Law (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 1992) by
Donald Gillmor, Carter-Ruck on Libel & Slander (London:
Butterworths 1997) by Peter Carter-Ruck & Harvey Starte,
David Hooper's Public scandal, odium, and contempt: An
investigation of recent libel cases (London: Secker &
Warburg 1984) and Wicked, Wicked Libels (London:
Routledge 1972) edited by Michael Rubinstein and The Legal
Concept of Art (Oxford: Hart 1998) by Paul Kearns.
For Canada see in particular Raymond Brown's The Law of
Defamation in Canada (Ottawa: Carswell 1994). Insights
about uses and abuses in Russia are provided in Article 19's
2003 The Price of Honour (PDF).
A lucid view of early New Zealand developments is provided
in Rosemary Tobin's 2005 The Defamation Action in Mid
19th Century New Zealand (PDF)
defamation in the age of the internet
To supplement the Collins study we recommend Russell Weaver's
Defamation Law in Turmoil: The Challenges Presented by
the Internet, Lilian Edwards 1997 paper
Defamation & the Internet: Name Calling in Cyberspace
and Marty Sutcliffe's paper
Defamation on the Internet: Searching for Community,
Identity & Statutory Solutions.
For us they are more convincing than Defamation Havens,
a somewhat utopian analysis
by Brian Martin of Australian cases, or Mike Godwin's brave
Libel Law: Let It Die and claims by Gilmore that the
net cannot (and must not) be censored in any way. David Loundy's
E-Law 2.0: Computer Information Systems Law & System
Operator Liability Revisited is of value for understanding
debate prior to the dot-com bubble. Lyrissa Lidsky’s
Silencing John Doe: Defamation & Discourse in Cyberspace
offers another view.
Mark Feldman's 2000 Internet Defamation: A Market-Based
highlights some philosophical questions.
The UK regime is explored in a 2002 discussion paper on Defamation
and the Internet - A Preliminary Investigation by the
Law Commission of England & Wales (PDF).
Practical issues are examined in the brief Internet Defamation:
Pursuing Defendants in Cyberspace article
by Patrick Clendenen & Joseph Lipchitz, the paper
by Michael Blakeney & Fiona Macmillan on Regulating
Speech On The Internet and
Tim Arnold-Moore's 1994 paper
Legal Pitfalls in Cyberspace: Defamation on Computer Networks.
free speech and the chilling effect
For SLAPP in the US see in particular Penelope Canan &
George Pring's SLAPPs: Getting Sued for Speaking Out
(Philadelphia: Temple Uni Press 1996) and associated site.
Ralph McCoy's online
Freedom of the Press: An Annotated Bibliography is
also of value. The online Big Chill is documented in the EFF
and Berkman Center Chilling Effects site.
Peter Amponsah's Libel Law, Political Criticism &
Defamation of Public Figures: The United States, Europe &
Australia (New York: LFB Scholarly 2004) is one comparative
A local view of SLAPP is provided in the 2004 paper
by Chris Dent & Andrew Kenyon on Defamation Law's
Chilling Effect: A Comparative Content Analysis of Australian
and US Newspapers and in Slapping on the Writs: Defamation,
Developers & Community Action (Sydney: UNSW Press
2003) by Brian Walters.
Australian historical and constitutional perspectives are
provided in The outstanding study is Michael Chesterman's
Freedom of Speech in Australian Law: A Delicate Plant
(Aldershot: Ashgate 2000), Nicholas Aroney's Freedom of
Speech in the Constitution (St Leonards: Centre for Independent
Studies 1998), the 2002 note
on Free Speech & the Constitution by Roy Jordan
and Jim Spigelman's 2000 Foundations of the freedom of
the press in Australia address.
For a view from New Zealand see the NZ Law Commission's 2000
Defaming Politicians: A Response to Lange v Atkinson.
The 2003 Communications Law Centre Third Person Singular?
Instructing the Defamation Jury paper (PDF)
and Rod Tiffen's Scandals, Media, Politics and Corruption
in Contemporary Australia (Sydney: Uni of NSW Press 1999)
are of interest in highlighting discrepancies in individual
expectations regarding what the Australian community considers
to be respectable. Action against Rivett and The News
in the 1960 'Stuart Affair' is described in The Stuart
Case (Melbourne: Black Inc 2002) by Ken Inglis.
For Turkey see Ayse Gül Altinay's The Myth of the
Military-Nation: Militarism, Gender, and Education in Turkey
(New York: Palgrave 2004)
memoirs and biographies
For a UK practitioner's account see Memoirs of a libel
lawyer (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1990) by Peter
Carter-Ruck - described by colleague as having "did for
freedom of speech what the Boston Strangler did for door-to-door
salesmen" - and Cases in Court (London: Heinemann
1949) by Patrick Hastings. The Liberace case is discussed
in Iain Adamson's The Old Fox: A Life of Gilbert Beyfus
QC (London: Frederick Muller 1963). Richard Ingrams of
Private Eye was responsible for Goldenballs (London:
Accounts by members of the US bar include Louis Nizer's My
Life in Court (New York: Doubleday 1961). Among Australian
memoirs see Walking On Water: A Life in the Law (Milsons
Point: Random House 2003) by Chester Porter.
As an introduction explore Patrick George's Defamation
Law In Australia (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2006)
and works noted above.
For law reform the major official studies are the 1979 Unfair
Publication: Defamation & Privacy report
from the Australian Law Reform Commission, 1996 ACT Community
Law Reform Committee Defamation report,
the 1995 Defamation report
by the NSW Law Reform Commission and 2002 NSW Parliament briefing
by Gareth Griffith on Defamation Law Reform Revisited.
They provide useful background in considering the 2004 federal
Outline of possible national defamation law discussion
and resultant uniform defamation law regime.
Other works of value include Michael Chesterman's 1995 'The
Money or the Truth: Defamation Reform in Australia and the
USA' in the UNSW Law Journal, Peter Applegarth's
1990' The Defamation Lottery' in the Australian Journalism
Review and Goetz Boettner's Protection of the Honour
of Deceased Persons: A Comparison Between the German and Australian
Legal Situations (PDF).
For Gutnick see Anna Beyer's 2004 article
Defamation on the Internet: Joseph Gutnick v Dow Jones
and Richard Garnett's 2004 Dow Jones and Company Inc.
v Gutnick: An adequate response to transnational Internet
Lange v ABC is discussed in Sally Walker's article
Lange v ABC: the High Court rethinks the "constitutionalisation"
of defamation law.
The Rindos litigation is considered in the 1995 article
Usenet News And The Law by Francis Auburn and 2000
Defamation Havens article
by Brian Martin. Binoy Kampmark's 2001 Macquarie Bank
v Berg: A Private International Law Critique article
and Uta Kohl's 2000 Defamation on the Internet - A Duty
Free Zone After All? Macquarie Bank Ltd v Berg consider
the case of that name.
A discussion of the 2003 WA Supreme Court decision in litigation
by Trevor Cullen appears in Online Defamation: A Case
Study in Competing Rights (PDF)
and Julie Dare's 2005 Cyberharassment & Online Defamation:
A Default Form of Regulations? paper.
Among numerous studies of (or references to) action by Laurence
Godfrey see Yaman Akdeniz's 1999 Case Analysis of Laurence
Godfrey v Demon Internet Ltd study
and the 1999 ABA note
by Mark Stevens, Marietta Cauchi & Amber Melville-Brown
on The Internet & Communications Law: Godfrey and
Matthew Rimmer's 2004 article
The Gossip we can trust: defamation law and non-fiction
considers litigation over Bob Ellis'
political memoir Goodbye Jerusalem. For the Hindmarsh
Island case see Margaret Simons' The Meeting of the Waters:
The Hindmarsh Island Affair (Sydney: Hodder Headline
2003) and the SA Supreme Court decision.
For the Browne & Fitzpatrick Case see Australian Constitutional
Landmarks (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2003) edited
by Hoong Phun Lee & George Winterton and Clem Lloyd's
Parliament & the Press: The Federal Parliamentary
Press Gallery 1901-1988 (Carlton: Melbourne Uni Press
1988). A sidelight is provided in 'Frank Browne and the Neo-Nazis'
by Peter Henderson in 89 Labour History (2005). Burchett:
Reporting the Other Side of the World, 1939-1983 (London:
Quartet 1987) by Ben Kiernan and Jack Kane's Exploding
the myths: the political memoirs of Jack Kane (Sydney:
Angus & Robertson 1989) and John Murphy's Imagining
the Fifties: Private Sentiment and Political Culture in Menzies'
Australia (Sydney: UNSW Press 2000) offset the disingenuous
Memoirs of a Rebel Journalist: The Autobiography of Wilfred
Burchett (Sydney: UNSW Press 2005). Burchett's The
People's Democracies: A Factual Survey (Melbourne: World
Unity Publications 1951) is also of interest.
Maudling appears in Michael Gillard's A Little Pot of
Money: The Story of Reginald Maudling and the Real Estate
Fund of America (London: Deutsch 1974), Lewis Baston's
Reggie: The Life of Reginald Maudling (Stroud: Sutton
2004), Nothing to declare: the political corruptions of
John Poulson (London: John Calder 1980) and in John Poulson's
memoir The Price (London: Michael Joseph 1981).
For the McLibel case see McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial
(London: Macmillan 1997) by John Vidal - with assistance from
the defendants - and the McSpotlight advocacy site.
McLibel: A Case Study in English Defamation Law (PDF)
by Marlene Nicholson is more nuanced.
A point of entry for information about 'McGunns' is here.
Writing about corporate reputation management, such as Corporate
Image Management - A Marketing Discipline for the 21st Century
(London: Butterworth 1998) by Steven Howard and Communicating
When Your Company Is Under Siege: Surviving Public Crisis
(New York: Free Press 1986) by Marion Pinsdorf, is featured
here. The litigation against
Thai democracy activist Supinya Klangnarong features here.
The unlovely David Irving appears in Lying About Hitler:
History, the Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial (New
York: Basic Books 2000) by Richard Evans, The Holocaust
on Trial (New York: Norton 2000) by David Guttenplan
and History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving
(New York: Ecco 2005) by Deborah Lipstadt. The text of the
judgement by Justice Charles Gray is available online
and in The Irving Judgement: Mr David Irving v Penguin
Books & Professor Deborah Lipstadt (London: Penguin
2000). Robert Kahn's Holocaust Denial and the Law: A Comparative
Study (London: Palgrave 2005), Denying History: Who
Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say it?
(Berkeley: Uni of California Press 2000) by Michael Shermer
& Alex Grobman and documentation in The Case for Auschwitz:
Evidence from the Irving Trial (Bloomington: Indiana
Uni Press 2002) by Robert Jan Van Pelt are also pertinent
For Aldington see Nikolai Tolstoy's Victims of Yalta
(London: Hodder & Stoughton 1977), The Minister &
the Massacres (London: Hutchinson 1986) and The Cost
of a Reputation - Aldington versus Tolstoy: the causes, course
& consequences of the notorious libel case (Edinburgh:
Canongate 1997) by Ian Mitchell.
Flynt and Falwell appear in Jerry Falwell v Larry Flynt:
The First Amendment on Trial (New York: St Martins 1988)
by Rodney Smolla.
For Sullivan in the US see in particular Anthony Lewis' Make
No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment (New
York: Random House 1991), supplemented by Actual Malice:
Twenty-Five Years After Times v. Sullivan (New York:
Praeger 1989) by W Wat Hopkins.
Westmoreland v CBS is examined in Renata Adler's Reckless
Disregard: Westmoreland v CBS et al; Sharon v Time (New
York: Vintage 1988), Burton Benjamin's Fair Play: CBS,
General Westmoreland and How a Television Documentary Went
Wrong (New York: Harper & Row 1988) and Vietnam
on Trial: Westmoreland vs CBS (New York: Atheneum 1987)
by Bob Brewin & Sydney Shaw. A perspective is offered
in The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy and William Bundy
- Brothers in Arms (New York: Simon & Schuster 1999)
by Kai Bird.
For Sharon see Uri Dan's Blood libel: The inside story
of General Ariel Sharon's history-making suit against Time
magazine (New York: Simon & Schuster 1987)
McGinnis appears in The Journalist & the Murderer
(London: Bloomsbury 1991) by Janet Malcolm. For McCarthy and
Hellman see Carol Geldeman's Mary McCarthy: A Life
(New York: St Martin's Press 1988), Carol Brightman's Writing
Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World (New York: Potter
1992), Frances Kiernan's Seeing Mary Plain: A Life of
Mary McCarthy (New York: Norton 2000), Carl Rollyson's
Lillian Hellman: Her Legend and Her Legacy (New York:
St. Martins 1988), Joan Mellen's Hellman & Hammett:
The Legendary Passion of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett
(New York: HarperCollins 1996) and the less incisive Lillian
Hellman: A Life With Foxes and Scoundrels (New York:
Counterpoint 2005) by Deborah Martinson.
The Safra case is the subject of Bryan Burroughs' Vendetta:
American Express & the smearing of Edmond Safra (London:
Harper Collins 1992).
For Bangoura see Robert Spellman's 2004 The Conundrum
of Jurisdiction Over Transnational Libel Suits (PDF).
Works on more distant cases include Hatred, Ridicule or
Contempt, A Book of Libel Cases (Harmondsworth: Penguin
1964) by Dean Joseph,Auschwitz in England, A Record of
a Libel Action (London: McGibbon & Kee 1965) by Mavis
Hill & Norman Williams and Their Good Names (London:
Hamish Hamilton 1970) by Montgomery Hyde.
Ruskin's attack on the falling rocket is discussed in A
Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in 'Whistler v Ruskin' (Washington:
Smithsonian Institution Press 1992) by Linda Merrill.
For Wilde and Pemberton-Billing see Richard Ellmann's Oscar
Wilde (London: Cape 1988), Philip Hoare's Wilde's
Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy and the First World War
(New York: Arcade 1997), Merlin Holland's The Real
Trial of Oscar Wilde: The First Uncensored Transcript of the
Trial of Oscar Wilde vs. John Douglas, Marquess of Queensberry,
1895 (London: Fourth Estate 2003) and Salome's Last
Veil: The Libel Case of the Century (London: Granada
1977) by Michael Kettle.
The Eulenberg Affair is discussed in Isabel Hull's The
Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II 1888-1918 (Cambridge:
Cambridge Uni Press 1982) and Lamar Cecil's Emperor and
Exile: Wilhelm II, 1900-1941 (Chapel Hill: Uni of North
Carolina Press 1996).
A taste of Greene's criticism is found in The Pleasure-Dome:
the Collected Film Criticism 1935-40 (London: Secker
& Warburg 1972), with an intelligent discussion of the
Wee Willie Winkie case appearing in Norman Sherry's The
Life of Graham Greene, Vol 1: 1904-1939 (London: Cape
1989). For the 'Rasputin Case' see John Kobler's Damned
in Paradise The Life of John Barrymore (New York: Atheneum
1972), Ted Berkman's gushy The Lady & the Law: The
Remarkable Story of Fanny Holtzman (Boston: Little Brown
1976) and Felix Youssoupoff's Lost Splendor - The Amazing
Memoirs of the Man Who Killed Rasputin (New York: Turtle
Point Press 2003).
For Hardy and Wren see Frank Hardy's very problematical Hard
Way: the story behind Power Without Glory (Hawthorn:
Gold Star 1960), Paul Adams' Frank Hardy The Stranger
From Melbourne: Frank Hardy - A Literary Biography, 1944-1975
(Nedlands: UWA Press 1999), Pauline Armstrong's Frank
Hardy & the making of Power Without Glory (Carlton
South: Melbourne Uni Press 2000) and James Griffin's John
Wren: a Life Reconsidered, (Carlton North: Scribe 2004).
For Dorothy Hewett see In defence of my family: the inside
story of the Hewett libel cases (Peppermint Grove: Peppy
Gully Press 1987), an account by aggrieved ex-spouse Lloyd
A view of the 1982 Seidler case is provided in the 2004 Censorship
and the Political Cartoonist (PDF)
by Haydon Manning & Robert Phiddian.
before the telegraph
Works on honour, reputation and defamation in the pre-industrial
era and steam age include Stephen Waddams' Sexual Slander
in Nineteenth-Century England: Defamation in the Ecclesiastical
Courts, 1815–1855 (Toronto: Uni of Toronto Press
2000), Martin Ingram's Church Courts, Sex & Marriage
in England, 1570-1640 (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press
1987), Before the Bawdy Court: Selections from Church
Court & Other Records Relating to the Correction of Moral
Offences In England, Scotland & New England, 1300-1800
(London: Elek 1972) edited by Paul Hair, The Culture
of Slander in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge
Uni Press 1997) by M. Lindsay Kaplan and Anna Clark's Scandal:
The Sexual Politics of the British Constitution (Princeton:
Princeton Uni Press 2003). For across the Channel see Helen
Solterer's The Master & Minerva: Disputing Women in
French Medieval Culture (Berkeley: Uni of California
Press 1995) and Simon Burrows' Blackmail, Scandal &
Revolution: London's French Libellistes 1758-1792 (Manchester:
Manchester Uni Press 2007).
Context is provided by Governing Morals: A Social History
of Moral Regulation (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 1999)
by Alan Hunt and William Miller's Eye for an Eye
(Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2006), the latter offering
a perspective on notions on valuing honour. For a more recent
perspective on honour see Lisa Pruitt's 2004 Her Own Good
Name: Two Centuries of Talk About Chastity (PDF).
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