Osgoode Hall Law Journal

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Unlike the commonplace statement that defamation law protects reputation, this article suggests that it only protects aspects of reputation. Previously, defamation was often the only avenue of legal protection for reputation worth examining, but now privacy actions also offer an avenue of protection for aspects of reputation in many jurisdictions. In other words, informational privacy law now protects aspects of reputation, as does defamation law. Recognizing this fact leads to the suggestion that exactly what each action—defamation and informational privacy—seeks to protect could be stated more concisely. This exercise, undertaken in this article, draws on classic defamation law analysis by Thomas Gibbons. Restating the law in this way would reform defamation law, clarifying and simplifying how it and privacy law coexist, and could offer a useful path for addressing more technical arguments about the boundaries between the actions or the ways in which they should be reconciled.

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