My original response was to sue her for defamation of character but then I realized I had no character.- Charles Barkley
Today's blog will provide a brief explanation on what defamation is. Some users assume knowing what defamation entails and that it is global in nature. This is not the case. What is defamation in the USA may not apply in India, Russia or Japan. Conversely, what may be legal or appropriate in the United States may not be the same overseas. However, if the basic guides of Netiquette are followed, the chances are far greater that anything inappropriate will occur even across international borders.
Defamation is easier to do with email than through other mediums. If you quote someone from an email but only with select certain portions that change the meaning of what is said or distort the content, it can be a strong case for defamation. If you do not put the quote into context, and it besmirches their reputation, that can also be considered defamation. If someone does it to you, there are many potential avenues of attack and several ways it is actionable in court. Still, if you are worried about email privacy, put a disclaimer in your footer indicating that the email is considered private and is not for publication. It really is not necessary for the most part but is never a bad idea.
If an email is forwarded and part of it is changed or left out with a negative result or changed meaning, it is defamation.