Use Common Interest

Common interest privilege grants qualified privilege to statements made to a private group of people who share a common interest. This is a complicated legal area: you might want to review Common Interest Privilege.

You should consider using this strategy if you’ve decided your goals are best served by sharing information with a limited group of people. Unfortunately, the relevant law is both murky and unforgiving: a court may decide you are not eligible for the privilege if you aren’t fully in compliance with the requirements, but the requirements are somewhat vague. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Publication must be narrowly restricted

The most important requirement is that publication must be restricted to a narrow group. Ideally, it would be a formal group with clear written guidelines for membership.

The group must have a compelling common interest

This is a very subjective question. Common interest privilege would likely apply to a private mailing list of event producers sharing information about educators. It probably would not apply, however, to a private mailing list of people discussing kink in general.

Publication must serve the common interest of the group

Common interest privilege only applies to statements that directly advance the group’s common interest. You probably would not be eligible for privilege if you made derogatory comments about your internet provider to a group of event producers.

It’s good practice to have a written policy that specifies what kinds of discussions are permitted and to discourage any discussions that do not directly serve the group’s common interest.


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