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1. It is a longstanding principle of the civil law that each publication of defamatory material gives rise to a separate cause of action which is subject to its own limitation period (the “multiple publication rule”). The Law Commission considered the multiple publication rule in its 2002 scoping study “Defamation and the Internet” 4, and concluded that “There is a need to review the way in which the multiple publication rule interacts with the limitation period applying to archived material”. This paper therefore considers the operation of this rule and how any reform in this area might interact with the limitation period for defamation claims. It seeks views on the issues in principle. Should any change to the law be considered appropriate in the light of consultation responses, further consultation will take place on how this will operate in practice.

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