Continuation of Libel on the Internet Under Philippine Law Part 1
What would be the liability of service providers for libelous acts committed by clients ?
Under Republic Act no. 8792, otherwise known as the
Electronic Commerce Act, a party or person acting as a service provider incurs no civil or criminal liability in the making, publication, dissemination or distribution of libelous material if: a) the service provider does not have actual knowledge, or is not aware of the facts or circumstances from which it is apparent that making, publication, dissemination or distribution of such material is unlawful or infringes any rights; b) the service provider does not knowingly receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity; c) the service provider does not directly commit any infringement or other unlawful act and does not induce or cause another person or party to commit any infringement or other unlawful act and/or does not benefit financially from the infringing activity or unlawful act of another person or party (Section 30, in relation to Section 5, E-Commerce Law)
Hence, a service provider should not be held liable if he has no actual knowledge of the libel, does not benefit financially from the unlawful act or does not directly commit the libelous act or induce someone to do so. Of course, once the service provider gains actual knowledge of the libel, timely steps must be taken, within the service provider’s authority, to remove the offending material by warning the perpetrator and, if all else fails, terminating the offender’s account. By acting speedily on the matter, the service provider shows good faith and that it does not condone the libelous acts.
A fundamental sense of fairness and simple good manners and right conduct is usually enough to keep you, a good netizen, out of trouble.
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