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Innocent Dissemination

The defence of innocent dissemination is intended to protect people such as newsagents, booksellers, librarians and internet service providers (ISP) who unwittingly publish defamatory matter without negligence on their part. However the defence does not stand if the ISP, newsagent etc has the requisite knowledge of the content, however as to exactly what level of knowledge, the law is unclear.

There have been cases that explore the issue of the defence of innocent dissemination. Recent cases have held that an operator of an online search engine can be considered a secondary publisher of defamatory material, even though the operator may not have known that the material was defamatory in nature (see Google Inc v Duffy (2017) 129 SASR 304).

Innocent Dissemination  :  Last Revised: Tue Jul 28th 2020
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