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Comment: Truthful libel? (Score 5, Insightful) 301

by spellraiser (#27184529) Attached to: Libel Suits OK Even If Libel Is Truthful

By its very definition, libel is always untruthful.

In law, defamation (also called calumny, libel, slander, and vilification) is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image. Slander refers to a malicious, false and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images.

Semantics aside, here is the actual explanation for the ruling:

Noonan appealed to a three-member panel for the First Circuit, which initially upheld the ruling by Lasker. But last month it reversed itself on the libel claim, saying Noonan could pursue that part of his lawsuit because of a relatively obscure 1902 [Massachusetts] law.

The law says truth is a defense against libel unless the plaintiff can show "actual malice" by the person publishing the statement.

In ordinary discussions of First Amendment law, "actual malice" refers to the standard established in the landmark 1964 US Supreme Court decision in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.

In that context, it means a plaintiff who is a public figure can win a libel suit only after proving that a journalist knew a published statement was false or acted in reckless disregard for the truth.

But in the Massachusetts law cited by the appeals court, "actual malice" means "malevolent intent or ill will," said the panel. Noonan might be able to persuade a jury that the company demonstrated ill will; Baitler had never referred to a fired employee by name in a mass e-mail before, and jurors might conclude he "singled out Noonan in order to humiliate him," the court wrote.

So we're talking about:

1) A state law.

2) A ruling that simply allows the guy to sue; it's not a final verdict by any means.

3) A very specific instance, that will eventually be settled in court anyway, as per 2).

So, I don't think this is anything for journalists to get overly anxious over, in truth.

The Internet

Why Trolls and Flames Happen 331

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the some-things-will-never-change dept.
AnonymousHack writes "New Scientist examines why people are in general more rude and abusive online. 'Psychologically, we are "distant" from the person we're talking to and less focused on our own identity. As a result we're more prone to aggressive behavior' says one psychologist, who also cites research showing messages received by email are always perceived more negatively than on the phone." Just more proof for the Greater Internet F***wad Theory.
Slashdot.org

Subterranean Slashdot Email Blues 267

Posted by samzenpus
from the so-you-want-to-work-at-slashdot dept.
If you can imagine working in the office of a school for gifted, troubled, and criminally insane children, inside an international airport, you can get a taste of what it is like to do support for Slashdot. I've worked here around 5 years now and have seen some crazy things. From a guy showing up at the office and offering me a car if I let him "reverse engineer Rob Malda's life", to people shaking and on the verge of tears because they got a Slashdot sticker. I was really tempted to take the car by the way but the thought of Rob spending his last few weeks in a hole, while this guy lowered a bucket of lotion and water down to him once a day, made me feel bad. Most of my time is spent answering email. Most days I receive about 50. When it's busy I can get well over a hundred. As everyone knows, people are precisely 500% more rude and angry online than they are in real life. Something about not having to see the tears or dodge the fist of the person you are swearing at brings out the worst in some people. We decided it would be fun to go through some of the more 'interesting' mails we've got through the years as part of our 10 year anniversary. Below you'll find some of my favorite rants, conspiracy theories and tantrums. (CT: Don't forget to put in your charity bid for the EFF- time is almost up.)
Businesses

Indian Software Firm Outsourcing Jobs To US 444

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the turnabout-is-fair-play dept.
phobos13013 writes "NPR is reporting Indian software maker Wipro is outsourcing positions to a development office opening in Atlanta, Georgia. Although it sounds good for US job growth, the implication is that firms outside the US appear to be dominating more and more in the global economy, even from developing and underdeveloped regions of the world. Similarly, salaries of IT professionals world-wide are projected to stagnate or possibly fall due to the large pool of qualified applicants in the market today."
Databases

Are Relational Databases Obsolete? 417

Posted by kdawson
from the long-in-the-tooth dept.
jpkunst sends us to Computerworld for a look at Michael Stonebraker's opinion that RDBMSs "should be considered legacy technology." Computerworld adds some background and analysis to Stonebraker's comments, which appear in a new blog, The Database Column. Stonebraker co-created the Ingres and Postgres technology while a researcher at UC Berkeley in the early 1970s. He predicts that "column stores will take over the [data] warehouse market over time, completely displacing row stores."
NASA

Houston, We Have a Drinking Problem 138

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the it's-hard-to-call-a-cab-in-space dept.
Pcol writes "Aviation Week reports that astronauts were allowed to fly on at least two occasions after flight surgeons and other astronauts warned they were so intoxicated that they posed a flight-safety risk. A review panel, convened in the wake of the Lisa Nowak arrest to review astronaut medical and psychological screening, also reported "heavy use of alcohol" by astronauts before launch, within the standard 12-hour "bottle to throttle" rule applied to NASA flight crew members. Dr. Jonathan Clark, a former NASA flight surgeon, says it's a tradition for crew members to gather for a barbecue on the eve of a shuttle launch, and these gatherings sometimes include alcohol and a toast but that the greater problem is that preparation before a flight can leave astronauts sleep-deprived and overworked. Meanwhile at Frenchie's Italian Restaurant, a popular astronaut hangout in Houston, owner Frankie Camera disputed the reports: "The Mercury astronauts may have been a little more wild (than later ones) but I did banquets for them and never really saw any of them drink so much they were out of control or drunk.""
Microsoft

Microsoft States GPL3 Doesn't Apply to Them 509

Posted by Zonk
from the they-is-special-you-understand dept.
pilsner.urquell writes "Microsoft yesterday issued a statement proclaiming that it isn't bound by GPLv3. Groklaw has a very humorous rejoinder to the company's claim. From that article: 'They think they can so declare, like an emperor, and it becomes fiat. It's not so easy. I gather Microsoft's lawyers have begun to discern the GPL pickle they are in. In any case it won't be providing any support or updates or anything at all in connection with those toxic (to them) vouchers it distributed as part of the Novell deal ... These two -- I can't decide if it's an elaborate dance like a tango or more like those games where you place a cloth with numbers on the floor and you have to get into a pretzel with your hands and feet to touch all the right numbers. Whichever it is, Novell and Microsoft keep having to strike the oddest poses to try to get around the GPL. If they think this new announcement has succeeded, I believe they will find they are mistaken. In other words, not to put too fine a point on it, GPLv3 worked.'" EWeek has further analysis of this proclamation.
Security

The Current State of the Malware/AntiVirus Arms Race 139

Posted by Zonk
from the watch-out-for-weblife dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An article at Net Security explores how malware has developed self-defense techniques. This evolution is the result of the double-edged sword of the malware arms race. Anti-virus technology is ever more advanced, but as a result surviving viruses are increasingly sophisticated. What Net Security offers is a lengthy look at the current state of that arms race. 'There are many different kinds of malware self-defense techniques and these can be classified in a variety of ways. Some of these technologies are meant to bypass antivirus signature databases, while others are meant to hinder analysis of the malicious code. One malicious program may attempt to conceal itself in the system, while another will not waste valuable processor resources on this, choosing instead to search for and counter specific types of antivirus protection. These different tactics can be classified in different ways and put into various categories.'"
Censorship

Yahoo Rejects Anti-Censorship Proposal 150

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the didn't-know-yahoo-was-still-even-in-business dept.
Matthew Skala writes "The BBC reports that Yahoo! has rejected a shareholder proposal to adopt an anti-censorship policy, as well as one to set up a human rights committee to review the impact of Yahoo!'s operations in places like China. The interesting proposals are numbers 6 and 7 in the proxy statement available through EDGAR. This news comes on the heels of jailed Chinese reporter Shi Tao, suing Yahoo! for its involvement in his conviction, and Google's rejection of a similar proposal. The anti-censorship proposal was submitted by the same groups (several New York City pension funds) as the Google proposal. The proxy statement also includes the Board's recommendations — "strongly oppose[ing]" both proposals — with explanations of their reasoning."
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Pentagon considered building a 'gay bomb'->

Submitted by
nicobn
nicobn writes "Soldiers more interested in engaging sexual activities than fighting ? Interestingly enough, this is an idea coming from US Airforce's Wright lab. From the article: "A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.""
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - OpenOffice Virus Found in Use->

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "Remember the 'SB/Badbunny-A' virus that wasn't in the wild yet? Well, according to Symantec, it is and it's not caring what platform you're running. The respective behaviors of the designated worm in the wild: "On Windows systems, it drops a file called drop.bad which is moved to the system.ini in the user's mIRC folder, while executing the Javascript virus badbunny.js that replicates to other files in the folder. On Apple Mac systems, the worm drops one of two Ruby script viruses in files called badbunny.rb and badbunnya.rb. On Linux systems, the worm drops both badbunny.py as an XChat script and badbunny.pl as a Perl virus.""
Link to Original Source
Censorship

+ - Church of England Chastises Sony->

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "The game "Resistance: Fall of Man" has been called sick & sacreligious by the Church of England due to a point in the game in which rival gunmen kill hundreds inside Manchester cathedral. The Church of England said that Sony did not ask for permission to use the cathedral in their game and demanded an apology. The bishop of Manchester is quoted as saying, "It is well known that Manchester has a gun crime problem. For a global manufacturer to recreate one of our great cathedrals with photorealistic quality and then encourage people to have gunbattles in the building is beyond belief and highly irresponsible." A representative for Sony said a formal letter of apology will be sent Monday."
Link to Original Source
Space

+ - "Puddles" of Water Sighted on Mars->

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "Further reinforcing the theory of a wet Mars, NewScientist is reporting on what appear to be water puddles in newly taken images from the Mars rover. While these results are controversial, the assumption for these blue 'puddles' to be water rely on engineers measuring the uniform smoothness of the surface of them & also in their analysis of apparent opaqueness whereby in some areas they claim to see pebbles underneath the surface of the blue areas. Truly water resisting the temptation to evaporate off the face of Mars or merely an anomaly of stereophotography gone wrong? We'll have to wait and see as the "Face on Mars" has taught us not to trust your eyes when viewing the red planet."
Link to Original Source

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