Single-Publication Rule Law and Legal Definition

Single publication rule is a principle that a plaintiff in a libel suit against a publisher has only one claim for each mass publication, not a claim for every book or issue in that run. It is the general rule that each communication of the same defamatory matter by the same defamer, whether to a new person or to the same person, is a separate and distinct publication, for which a separate cause of action arises. The single publication rule is an exception to this general rule.

As to any single publication: (1) only one action for damages can be maintained; (2) all damages suffered in all jurisdictions can be recovered in the one action; and (3) a judgment for or against the plaintiff upon the merits of any action for damages bars any other action for damages between the same parties in all jurisdictions. [Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U.S. 770 (U.S. 1984)]