How to Navigate Federal Defamation Law

Defamation Demand Letters How to Navigate Federal Defamation Law

Understanding How to Navigate Federal Defamation Law

Defamation is a civil wrong that happens when a party makes false and harmful statements about another, causing injury to that person's reputation. There are two types of defamation. Libel is a false statement that has been written or posted online. Slander is a false statement that is spoken.

To start a defamation claim, libel and slander must have resulted in provable damage concerning the person’s reputation, future, and even physical or mental health.

The initial step for many is to choose to create and send a cease and desist letter, instructing the individual making defamatory claims to stop before further legal action is taken. This article will discuss details of federal defamation laws and how you can write a cease and desist letter easily with DoNotPay.

Defining Federal Defamation

As of right now, federal law does not immediately validate the concept of defamation. Defamation varies on a state-by-state basis. Different institutions regard defamation at varying severity levels, and as always, it is seen on a case-by-case basis.

Slander vs libel

There are two key elements of defamation, slander, and libel:

  • Libel can be distinguished by the reality that it leaves a permanent record, like an email, radio or TV broadcast, newspaper article, or website posting
  • Slander doesn’t usually leave a permanent record and it can also be as easy as a spoken statement or a hand gesture

Distinguishing the type of defamation that occurred is the first step to proving any defamation claim, or establishing whether you can send a cease and desist letter. 

What isn't defamation?

Although proving defamation seems like an easy and clear process, different legal loopholes prevent claims from being identified as slander or libel:


  • A statement of opinion cannot be defamatory. Defamation is a false statement that is said to be a fact.
  • A loophole exists; if a defamatory statement is not recognized as an opinion and is published, you may have the ability to sue for libel.

Freedom of Speech

  • With concerns to the First Amendment, anyone has a right to not be subjected to falsehoods that may impugn their character.
  • In sum, defamation is not illegal by legal terms. Defamation is simply a for tense of the legal system to pay compensation to people who have been harmed by freedom of speech.

False Light

  • A false light claim exists when a false statement about an individual is authenticated on a public platform, implying that the statement is true when it is false.
  • False light is created to “protect the plaintiff's mental and emotional well-being” rather than their reputation, which defamation strives to protect.


  • Disparagement strives to legally enclose the financial and economic interests of the plaintiff or their products.
  • Defamation aims to protect personal interests, but consequently, disparagement covers extra-personal boundaries, like property ownership and non-liquid assets.

General Legal Grounds for Defamation

In many states, general defamation can be encompassed in the following table:

FalseThe defamatory statement or action was untrue
A faultThe fault by the defendant amounted to negligence at the least
DamageThe publication caused damage to one's reputation

Defamation per se

In some states, certain statements are valid examples of defamation per se, so serious that they are always considered defamatory and harmful:

  • The act of accusing the plaintiff of committing a crime
  • The act of indicating that the plaintiff has a communicable disease
  • The act of indicating that the plaintiff is unable to perform or lacks integrity with relation to work
  • The act of attributing the plaintiff to a lack of general ability, otherwise harming them professionally
  • The act of accusing the plaintiff of engaging in adultery

Is It Right to Write a Cease and Desist Letter?

  1. In sum, writing a cease and desist letter is a hard process that can discredit your case, if not executed properly.
  2. If you can’t prove the damage you’ve suffered legally, depict all components of corresponding evidence from a legal standpoint, and create a sound letter, you may run the risk of your letter being discarded if you go to court.
  3. In addition, many willing lawyers who are capable of creating cease and desist letters will charge an extreme amount of money for giving you a timely response to your inquiries!

Discover the DoNotPay Advantage: Draft a Cease and Desist Letter in Minutes!

DoNotPay is a reliable and convenient solution! The cease and desist letter DoNotPay drafts will outline the information about the case, demand retraction, warn against future statements, and will request that the accused abides by Illinois state statutes.

All you need to do is:

1. Look for the Defamation Demand Letters product on DoNotPay.

2. Tell us about your situation

    • Were the statements slander or libel?
    • What were the statements?
    • Why are they false or misleading?
    • What consequences have you suffered as a result of these statements?

3. Based on your location, DoNotPay will immediately generate a formal demand letter on your behalf, with the most relevant state legislation regarding defamation.

That’s it! You can expect to receive a precisely drafted cease and desist letter in an instant! 

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