Defamation of the Internet: Slander on the Internet

defamation of the internet

The emergence and evolution of the Internet have led to a paradigm shift in our society. However, there are still many legal and economic gaps in this sector. The majority of the population does not know how the Internet is regulated.

Not all human beings are good by nature and some of them commit crimes. In fact, many of them commit crimes without even realizing it. Today, we will talk to you about defamation of the Internet, which prescribes 12 months after its production, even if the publications still appear on the net.

Defamation on the Internet is prescribed after 12 months.
The Barcelona Provincial Court denied in an order that the crime of slander on the Internet is permanent. In this document, the judges explain that such crimes expire 12 months after their publication if the affected party has not taken legal action before the deadline.
As many of you may think, due to the particularities of the Internet, it is possible that this crime may continue to circulate on the Internet; but judges say that the crime also prescribes, whether or not it continues to circulate on the Internet.

Thus, the Provincial Court of Barcelona rejects the prosecution’s argument. From it was stated that the crime of slander on the Internet is a crime against honor that is “perpetuated” as long as the relevant publications of the network are not deleted.

It is not necessary to delete the publication
The judges say that the crime of slander is “instantaneous”. What does that mean? According to the judges, dissemination after slander on the Internet is an “effect of the crime” and not the direct result of the accused pursuing the harmful action.
For a crime to be considered permanent, the officer must “continue to perform the act”. This means that not removing the published work does not become another slander or insult. In this sense, the Provincial Court explains that at the exact moment when the slander is committed, it begins to count the time of its prescription. The magistrates also express that it is not necessary to be aware of the offended of insults and threats for it to be considered a crime.

The opinion of a lawyer on defamation of the internet
The order of the Barcelona Provincial Court is clear, but we wanted to talk to a lawyer who is an expert in technology to find out what his opinion is on the subject. For this purpose, we spoke with Leandro Núñez, partner and lawyer of Audens.

Defamation of the internet

First, Núñez explained to us that defamation is about accusing someone of a crime without any basis. “You are a crook” or “you are a thief” are examples of slander. However, they must be false or have no evidence of what is considered defamation.
The lawyer tells us that lies on the Internet prescribe after 12 months; however, and contrary to what has been dictated by the judges, Núñez insists that “as long as defamatory publications continue to exist, the fact will continue to occur”. In his view, the crime does not expire until the publication is withdrawn, as it would be a continuing crime.

As we have said, the provincial court judges have said quite the opposite, the crime will prescribe once the deadline has passed, even if the slander continues to circulate on the network.

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