X-Message-Number: 7628
From: Peter Merel <>
Subject: What else?
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 22:20:46 +1100 (EST)

Perry Metzger writes,

>1) Truth is a complete defense to any charge of libel in either the
>   U.S. or any other common law country.

I'm afraid this is not true, or at least not true in Australia: truth is no
defence here. So long as the plaintiff can show that you've damaged their
reputation by your statements, true or not you've had it. IANAL, but there
have been a number of very well publicized cases here along these lines.

This ought to be a cause for your concern with regard to statements on
the net. A couple of years ago there was a well-publicized case libel
suit here won by an English academic against an Australian colleague
who'd defamed him on the net; I don't know how well the suit would have
stood up in Britain, but I recall that the academic chose to pursue it
in Australia.

I'm also under the impression that the US does not share the British-
derived common law with commonwealth countries - common law, for example,
gives people a right to privacy that I'm under the impression you lack.
But perhaps you mean a different kind of common law, or perhaps I'm
mistaken. I wonder whether anyone here knows better?

All that said, I should certainly hope that Ms. Visser and/or her
aggressive proxy will not pursue any such course with respect to
the well-intentioned folks who post here. Cryonics has enough problems.

Peter Merel.

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