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The Paradox of Libel in Fiction


Fiction, as opposed to non-fiction, does not purport to put forth the bulk of propositions expressed as true, or at least as true beyond the fictional world.[1] Case law of libel in fiction however suggests that courts readily look into the fictional world constructed by authors and assess whether the fictional materials are falsely asserted to defame someone in the real world. This essay looks into cases involving libel in fiction[2] in different common law jurisdictions.[3] It suggests that the failure to properly comprehend the nature of fiction underlies the inconsistency in the case law. Noting the inherent paradox in finding fiction defamatory and the plight faced by authors, it proposes a veil of fictitiousness with discussion of some suggested reforms. The final part would discusses how this may be applied to satirical fantasy, which is popular on the internet nowadays.

(Please click document image of top left corner to download full paper in pdf)

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