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Historic Times v. Sullivan and Gertz v. Welch Supreme Court Decisions and Online Social Media Libel Law

Joshua Azriel and Charles Mayo
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Joshua Azriel: Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA, USA
Charles Mayo: Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA, USA

International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies (IJICST), 2013, vol. 3, issue 2, 48-58

Abstract: This article re-examines two historic Supreme Court's decisions—the 1964 Times v. Sullivan and the 1974 Gertz v. Welch—as they apply to the digital era. The Court's decision in Sullivan established the federal legal guidelines for a victim to prove a libel case including actual malice. In Gertz v. Welch the Court established three categories of public figures who must prove actual malice in a libel claim. The article reviews both cases within the context of social media defamation claims. The authors conclude that the Supreme Court decisions in Times v. Sullivan and Gertz v. Welch are still relevant in the era of online communication and social media.

Date: 2013
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