One can also be an involuntary limited-purpose public figure—for example, an air traffic controller on duty at time of fatal crash was held to be an involuntary, limited-purpose public figure, due to his role in a major public occurrence. Corporations are not always public figures.
How to Create a Facebook Public Figure Page and Why You Should
They are judged by the same standards as individuals. In some states, there are legal privileges protecting fair comments about public proceedings.
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For example, in California you have a right to make "a fair and true report in, or a communication to, a public journal, of A a judicial, B legislative, or C other public official proceeding, or D of anything said in the course thereof, or E of a verified charge or complaint made by any person to a public official, upon which complaint a warrant has been issued. Freedom Communications, Inc. The California privilege also extends to fair and true reports of public meetings, if the publication of the matter complained of was for the public benefit. A report is "fair and true" if it captures the substance, gist, or sting of the proceeding.
The report need not track verbatim the underlying proceeding, but should not deviate so far as to produce a different effect on the reader. Many jurisdictions recognize a "neutral reportage" privilege, which protects "accurate and disinterested reporting" about potentially libelous accusations arising in public controversies. As one court put it, "The public interest in being fully informed about controversies that often rage around sensitive issues demands that the press be afforded the freedom to report such charges without assuming responsibility for them. Some jurisdictions have retraction statutes that provide protection from defamation lawsuits if the publisher retracts the allegedly defamatory statement.
For example, in California, a plaintiff who fails to demand a retraction of a statement made in a newspaper or radio or television broadcast, or who demands and receives a retraction, is limited to getting "special damages"—the specific monetary losses caused by the libelous speech. While few courts have addressed retraction statutes with regard to online publications, a Georgia court denied punitive damages based on the plaintiff's failure to request a retraction for something posted on an Internet bulletin board.
See Mathis v. If you get a reasonable retraction request, it may help you to comply. The retraction must be "substantially as conspicuous" as the original alleged defamation. To state a defamation claim, the person claiming defamation need not be mentioned by name—the plaintiff only needs to be reasonably identifiable. So if you defame the "government executive who makes his home at Pennsylvania Avenue," it is still reasonably identifiable as the president. The US Supreme Court has said that "in the context of defamation law, the rights of the institutional media are no greater and no less than those enjoyed by other individuals and organizations engaged in the same activities.
Generally, anyone who repeats someone else's statements is just as responsible for their defamatory content as the original speaker—if they knew, or had reason to know, of the defamation. Recognizing the difficulty this would pose in the online world, Congress enacted Section of the Communications Decency Act, which provides a strong protection against liability for Internet "intermediaries" who provide or republish speech by others.
See the Section FAQ for more. The vast weight of authority has held that Section precludes liability for an intermediary's distribution of defamation. While one California court had held that the federal law does not apply to an online distributor's liability in a defamation case, the case, Barrett v. Many insurance companies are now offering media liability insurance policies designed to cover online libel claims. In addition, the insurer will conduct a review of the publisher, and may insist upon certain standards and qualifications i.
The Online Journalism Review has an extensive guide to libel insurance for online publishers. Eugene Volokh's the Volokh Conspiracy notes that homeowner's insurance policies, and possibly also some renter's or umbrella insurance policies, generally cover libel lawsuits, though they usually exclude punitive damages and liability related to "business pursuits. You should read your insurance policy carefully to see what coverage it may provide. Most states have a statute of limitations on libel claims, after which point the plaintiff cannot sue over the statement.
For example, in California, the one-year statute of limitations starts when the statement is first published to the public. In certain circumstances, such as when the defendant cannot be identified, a plaintiff can have more time to file a claim. Most courts have rejected claims that publishing online amounts to "continuous" publication, and start the statute of limitations ticking when the claimed defamation was first published. The following are a couple of examples from California cases; note the law may vary from state to state.
Libelous when false :. As an increasing number of users have opted in to the label, some with less than 1, followers and others with more than 5,, their followers have taken to Twitter to condemn the act, calling those who use it pretentious , stupid , and tool-ish. Historically, a public figure in society is someone who is famous outside of their immediate sphere of influence i. There are a few benefits to becoming a public figure on Instagram that go beyond the lure of the profile label, though.
If you have 10, or more followers, you can add a link to your Story — something that verified users get, too — allowing viewers to easily swipe up and drive traffic to a separate site.
For a younger generation that places value in their number of likes, these metrics are desirable, and reason enough to designate yourself as a public figure, regardless of your following or occupation, Wolff says. There is also no approval process required to get these labels.
After all, while social media might open up the potential for anyone to become a public figure the consequences of this became apparent with PlaneBae , it's questionable whether everyone should be able to call themselves one. Specific sources vs. If you need assistance accessing this module from your Lexis Advance account, please contact the Reference Desk.
Using the Name or Likeness of Another | Digital Media Law Project
Tips: Try alternative spellings and likely misspellings. Hyphenated surnames may appear in either order, as only one name or the other, or as a middle name and surname. Look for prior names e. Social media can provide a wealth of information see the "Social Media" section, below. Try "old school" methods like calling Directory Assistance to find a current phone number especially for landlines. Try to limit the geographical scope of your search as much as possible or use any "associated with" information that may be provided to narrow down the options.
Always try to confirm the information you find from another, independent source. Although landline phone numbers are made public via Directory Assistance by default, cell phone numbers are private by default and the owner must "opt-in" to make them publicly available. As a result, cell phone numbers are rarely found in free or low-cost databases. Databases will often tell you exactly what their coverage is i.
Free Locators Below are some FREE directories you can use to find people many more exist — you can easily find them by googling. PeopleSmart Essentially the same as BeenVerified. ZabaSearch Includes a reverse phone look-up option. Locate Plus. TLOxp Subscription based.
Harvard Law School does NOT subscribe to this service, but you should know it exists and is a reliable resource. Accurint Subscription based. Harvard Law School does NOT subscribe to this service, but you should know that it exists and is a reliable resource.
Social Media People often "broadcast" information using social media. It searches the "Deep Web" meaning sites that aren't typically indexed by search engines like Google and allows you to search by email address or social media username. Twitter - Advanced Search Use to tailor a Twitter search to specific date ranges, people, sent from geographical locations, and more. Must be logged into Twitter. Remember to search in "Private Mode" if you don't want someone to know you've been reading their profile!
- Defamation of Character or Free Speech? Legal Issues With Defamation Claims | AllLaw.
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Personal Records. Vital Records, etc. It also provides some information on obtaining vital records from abroad. A processing fee and shipping costs are added to the otherwise applicable cost of obtaining the document directly from the relevant agency. Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics Please note that vital records cannot be browsed online.
Amendments or corrections to birth, death, or marriage records can be made. More detailed information is available online. Massachusetts Vital Records The Massachusetts Secretary of State's Office maintains this searchable database of vital records from the Massachusetts Archives.
Massachusetts Probate and Family Court This website contains information about the adoption process, gaining access to adoption, divorce, and other records, information about name changes, and more. Professional Licensing Many professions require licensing by states or by the federal government, in the case of professions that extend across state borders e. Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure: Check a License Use this site to check if someone has a valid professional license or permit. The Division of Professional Licensure regulates over trades and professions in Massachusetts.
Lawyer Licensing American Bar Association Use this site to identify the agency that licenses lawyers in a particular state. By going to the state agency's website, you can find out if someone is licensed to practice law in that state.
Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers Use this site to see if someone is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. You can also find out when they were admitted to the bar and if they have ever been publicly disciplined. Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine By looking up a physician's profile, you can confirm they are licensed, see what specialties they may have, learn about their educational background, and see if they have ever been disciplined or reported to the Board for malpractice.
Although the site is free, it does require registration. Although registration is required, prior military service is not required.