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5-08-2010 @ 2:10PM
It doesn't need to be "for publishing", Robin, it just needs to be memorialized in some way in order to be considered libel. Twitter's not a great example here, because the Library of Congress just decided to explicitly memorialize every tweet ever published; therefore defamation on Twitter is explicitly libel. However, the case of WOW in-game chat hinges on whether the chat *has been* saved, which we can't always know is the case. (It certainly beggars belief to assume that Blizzard has permanently recorded every character ever entered into the chat system. But if the record of a defamation is destroyed, does it go from libel to slander?) In this case, I think Robin's made the right choice; legally, I don't think that we can assume that Blizzard is logging every word we write to a permanent file, and therefore in-game chat is fundamentally transient and therefore slander.IANAL, of course. But that seems like an accurate reading given my limited knowledge of US defamation law.
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