Still, videographers are often left wondering whether they got it “right” and what, if anything, could happen if a factual error were made and portrayed in their work. Luckily, the law of libel and some important U.S. Supreme Court decisions provide a framework for analyzing content inaccuracies and understanding how it affects you.
The Legal Landscape
Libel is defined by Cornell’s Legal Information Institute as “a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.” Slander, on the other hand, is limited to false oral statements. Note that the focus of libel is not on the truth of the information asserted but instead on its effect on the subject. When published information is not just injurious but also false, guilt or innocence on the part of the publisher and any potential damages often hinge on the publisher’s regard or disregard for the truth of the content. Read More