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A form of Defamation in which imputations are made in a permanent, or reasonably permanent, form. Speech can not, in general, be libellous, but it may amount to Slander. Television broadcasts, audio and video recordings, and films, may amount to libel, as may any form of writing or printing. The libel need not even be in words: in Monson v Tussauds Ltd a wax effigy was held to be libellous.
The distinction between libel and slander can be important for the claimant, because the claimant does not have to showspecial damage. This might make the claim easier to prove. Of course, the claimant still has to show that the imputation was, as a matter of fact, defamatory.
Techically, libel is a crime as well as a Tort. Prosecutions for the crime are extremely rare