Public Figure

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Public Figure

A description applied in Libel and Slander actions, as well as in those alleging invasion of privacy, to anyone who has gained prominence in the community as a result of his or her name or exploits, whether willingly or unwillingly.

If a plaintiff in a libel or slander action qualifies as a public figure, he or she must show that the libelous or slanderous conduct of the defendant was motivated out of actual malice as required in the case of new york times co. v. sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686 (1964).

public figure

n. in the law of defamation (libel and slander), a personage of great public interest or familiarity like a government official, politician, celebrity, business leader, movie star, or sports hero. Incorrect harmful statements published about a public figure cannot be the basis of a lawsuit for defamation unless there is proof that the writer or publisher intentionally defamed the person with malice (hate). (See: defamation, libel, slander)

References in periodicals archive ?
Supreme Court created the limited purpose public figure classification to "define the proper accommodation between the law of defamation and the freedoms of speech and press protected by the First Amendment." (328) Limited public figures are those data subjects who have voluntarily injected themselves into a particular public controversy; they become public figures for that limited range of issues.
Public officials, general public figures, and limited public figures will have a right to be forgotten extending to first- and second-degrees of deletion.
The federal district court in Franzon's underlying action held that he was a limited public figure who must prove recklessness as to the truth of the statements made, but not knowledge of their falsity.

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