Slander and defamation are two words which both mean that something untrue has been communicated, as fact, about someone or something. Slander is a type of defamation. This term is used when the type of communication that contained the false claim is verbal.
Defamation may also be referred to as libel. This term is used when the false communication has been written or published. The difference between slander and libel is the way in which the untrue statements were made, whether verbal or written. Both are examples of defamation, however.
Slander and defamation are acts that may be considered criminal and are often prosecutable by the law. The three most common types of slander are slander of character, slander of title, and slander of goods. Different court proceedings and punishments exist in most countries for slander and libel. It may be helpful to consult legal representation before charging another party with slander and defamation, so that counsel can determine whether the accusation is slanderous or libelous.
Slander of character is a false statement about an individual, which casts that person in a negative light. This type of defamation may also be made against an organization or a company. For the accusation to be considered criminal, it must be implied or stated to be truth when it is, in reality, a lie. It must also be made with malicious intentions.
Slander per se and slander per quo are the two types of slander and defamation of character. Slander per se is determined when the false accusation or statement made is instantly and clearly damaging to the party in question. A politician in a race for an election who appears on television and says that his or her opponent has been taking bribes while running for office, yet has no proof of this fact, would be guilty of slander per se. Slander per quo is often more difficult to prove in court because the falsehoods in question have long-term damaging effects that are not immediately apparent.
Slander of title occurs when one individual makes a false claim regarding the property of another. This may take the form of one party boasting ownership of a parcel of real estate which, in actuality, belongs to someone else, and attempting to receive payment for that property. It may also come in the form of a person making unkind and untrue remarks about a piece of land that causes it to be viewed negatively. An example of this would be someone claiming a building is infested with cockroaches to prevent it from being sold when it, in fact, has no such problem.
When one person says something negative and damaging in regards to another person's merchandise, they may be accused of slander of goods. This type of defamation could be argued if a television news show claimed a product was made with faulty, malfunctioning parts when, in reality, there was nothing harmful or damaging in the product. Both slanders of title and of goods must be considered intentional and malicious in nature to be prosecuted legally.