Anti Defamation Clause – Protect your Reputation

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. My post should not be considered a substitute for legal advice. Use your own discretion.

Recently I have added a new clause to my service contract. The clause is to protect me from ‘libel’ and ‘slander’. Libel is defamation done through written words and ‘slander’ is defamation done through spoken words. Defamation is a term used for any statement that hurts your reputation. This statement can be in writing, spoken words or even pictured. So when, on a social medium like a forum, a person accuses a company of being a rip-off , then the statement can be considered as libel. Libel is generally considered to be more offending/harmful than slander as it has a longer life (it remains as written words unless removed). This means you can claim high damages in the case of libel.

How to establish defamation occurred?

1. Prove that the defamatory statement was published i.e. made public. In case of ‘libel’, screen shorts work well. In case of ‘slander’, audio or video recording works well.

2. Prove that the defamatory statement is false. If you are not able to prove that, you are not entitled to any damages. Go home, eat a burger and forget.

3. Prove that the defamatory statement injured your reputation like you lost clients, chucked out by the wife, thrown out from the family,  kicked out of the society. You get my point.

What to do next?

In reality, it is not easy to prove defamation. Because the law guys have to protect ‘freedom of speech’ too and they don’t want people to live in constant fear of being sued by someone for making a statement in public.  However, this is all the inside story and only for you. On the surface even threats of ‘defamation’ lawsuit give creeps and we can take advantage of that fear by including the ‘anti-defamation clause’ in the service contract. The aim is to avert the client to not to defame you publicly and not to actually go ahead and sue him. This is the lingo which you can copy-paste in your contract:

Client agrees not to attack/criticize [Your Company Name] and any of its employee, associate or partner publicly (on public forums, blogs, social networks etc) at any time during or subsequent to contract period. Similarly, client agrees not to seek for seo advice on seo forums, blogs, community groups or any social media in a way that brings bad name to the company or any of its employee, associate or partner. In case of breach of this clause, client agrees to pay US$ ________ to [Your Company Name] as damages.

To know more about contract laws:

If anyone has more information about the anti-defamation clause, please share.

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