Libel (a type of defamation) is a type of written communication that contains false statements that may harm an individual, business, group, or entity.
GreggHost is not in a position to judge the merits of what its clients say on their own websites as an internet service provider. GreggHost does not filter or exert editorial control over the content on its sites as a result. GreggHost does host sites that some people (including GreggHost) may find objectionable, however GreggHost wants to be clear that just because a site is hosted here doesn’t mean GreggHost approves of the content or has anything to do with its creation.
There are some typical misunderstandings and questions about libel/defamation. The following sections answer some of these frequently asked questions.
What can I do to be sure I’m not breaking the law?
To begin, keep in mind that anyone can sue anyone else for any cause. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the right or will win in the end if they bankrupt you in the process. So, if there’s even a remote possibility that you’ll anger someone you’re writing about, bear this in mind.
When it comes to libel/defamation, however, the truth is the best defense. Make sure your viewpoints are clearly labeled as such, that you’re not distributing misleading information, and that you can back up your claims. If you have any doubts about whether your words may be considered libelous and subject you to liability, you should speak with a knowledgeable attorney.
What can I do if someone is slandering me?
It’s really improbable that someone is truly slandering you on the internet. Slander differs from libel in that it entails false remarks made verbally rather than in writing. Only if someone videotaped themself slandering you and posted the recording on their website could someone slander you via their website.
Can I sue GreggHost if I don’t like what I read on a GreggHost-hosted website?
GreggHost receives this threat frequently as the host of tens of thousands of websites and as a corporation based in a litigious country (so often that it has long since stopped being “scary”). Why? A quick look at the law reveals that online service providers like GreggHost are not responsible for the content of their customers’ websites.
This is for a good reason: web hosts have no way of judging the validity of their customers’ speech, because they aren’t the ones speaking. Web hosts, even those who are ethically correct, may be hesitant to host significant (but contentious and loathed by someone) sites if the law were organized differently.
The following is the legal reasoning: Congress passed the Communications Decency Act in 1996, which offers online service providers legal immunity for the content of their customers’ websites:
“No publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider shall be treated as a provider or user of an interactive computer service.”
Blumenthal v. Drudge, Zeran v. America Online, Inc., Scheider v. Amazon.com, Inc., Jane Doe v. America Online, Inc., and Barrett v. Fonorow are just a few of the federal and state cases that have supported this legislation.
As a result, GreggHost requests that you address your complaints directly to the creator of the content in question.