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DRM 4 weeks ago

Reading through, what look like the key provisions of the bill to me are:

1) Under normal circumstances, a public figure has to prove a false statement was made with “actual malice” in order to win a defamation case. Florida hereby defines “actual malice” to include all cases where the false statement was either entirely made up by the author, or attributed by the author to an anonymous source whose actual existence the author fails to demonstrate to the court. (If the statement can be shown to be true, the source doesn’t matter, because truth is always a defense against defamation.)

2) False accusations that someone engaged in discrimination on the basis of race, sex, orientation, or gender identity are considered to be defamatory by nature, and thus always legally actionable. (This, I believe, mostly shuts down defense arguments of the form “The plaintiff is really popular with bigots, so accusing him of bigoted actions doesn’t actually hurt him.”)

3) Simply showing that someone has certain religious or scientific beliefs is not legally sufficient in a defamation case to demonstrate that accusations the person engaged in discrimination on the basis of race, sex, orientation, or gender identity are true.

4) It is assumed in defamation cases that any statement the author attributed to an anonymous source is false unless and until demonstrated otherwise.

5) A “public figure” for one defamation case is no longer automatically a “public figure” for all defamation cases. A “public figure” can win a defamation case under the normal standards for private figures, if the false statement made against them was unrelated to the reason they are a public figure.

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