California applies the single publication rule pursuant to California Civil Code 3425.1-3425.5. A California Court of Appeals recognized the single publication rule in the context of publications on the Internet. Traditional Cat Ass'n, Inc. v. Gilbreath, 13 Cal.Rptr.3d 353, 358 (Cal. Ct. App. 2004). For a definition of the "single publication rule," see the Statute of Limitations for Defamation section of this guide.

District of Columbia Defamation Law

Note: This page covers information specific to the District of Columbia. For general information concerning defamation, see the Defamation Law section of this guide.

Elements of Defamation

According to District of Columbia law, defamation claims have four elements:

the defendant made a false and defamatory statement concerning the plaintiff;
the defendant published the statement without privilege to a third party;
the defendant's fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence; and
either the statement was actionable as a matter of law irrespective of special harm or its publication caused the plaintiff special harm.
See Jankovic v. International Crisis Group, 429 F.Supp.2d 165, 173-4 (D.D.C. 2006). The elements of a defamation claim in the District of Columbia are similar to the elements listed in the general Defamation Law section, with the following exceptions:

Defamation Per Se
In the District of Columbia, any written or printed statement that falsely accuses someone of committing a crime constitutes defamation per se. See Raboya v. Shrybman & Associates, 777 F.Supp. 58 (D.D.C. 1991). If a statement is defamation per se, the court will assume harm to the plaintiff's reputation, without further need to prove that harm.

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