Libel on the Internet under Philippine Law Part II

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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8 thoughts on “Libel on the Internet under Philippine Law Part II

  1. While libel on the internet is punishable under the Philippine Laws, difficulty arises in proving the author.

    How do I prove by DIRECT evidence, that the accused is the author of the libelous material? Would the service provider, who is usually loacated overseas, provide the details of the person/account?

    Like for example, “A” wrote a shout out in friendster saying that “B” is a whore and family wrecker. The shout out was seen by the friends of “B” so “B” sued “A” for libel. The defense of “A” was that she does not own the account. Considering that “B” has to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of “A”, what evidence could “B” offer that would satisfy the court that it was indeed “A” who posted the shout out?

    Would friendster reveal the true identity of “A”?

    Assuming that friendster revealed the identity of “A” and then it was found that as per log in entries, it was “A” who owns the account since the age, location, personal details as registered when the account was created was “A’s”, but the truth is that the account was not really “A’s” but some other person, how now would “A” prove that the account was not hers?

  2. It is not yet very clear if the writing libelous article online is similar to the other means of publication enumerated in art. 355 of the RPC (i.e., writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical
    exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or “any similar means”). The DOJ has dismissed a libel case based on an online article saying that the online publication does not fall under the enumeration.

  3. Need advise, im considering filing a suit in Marikina City for a libel case.. Contact me. Need a lawyer that is speedy and dependable. Thanks

  4. please advise me my bf sis is sending me an email stating that i am a whore.
    can i file case against her.what kind of case.
    thank you!

  5. hi i have been battling this ex-friend of mine who has been spreading rumors about me on facebook? is there a way to atleast stop him from going further with this… please help me

  6. The Supreme Court better come up with an updated law regarding libel. The internet is a way, much worse, to publicly insult a person. I mean seriously what is taking them so long, are they going to wait until someone commits libel against the Supreme Court through the internet?

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