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Actual malice

Actual malice in US law is defined as "knowledge that the information was false" or that it was published "with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not." This is only the definition in the United States and came from the landmark 1964 lawsuit New York Times Co. v. Sullivan that ruled that public officials needed to prove actual malice in order to recover dammges for libel.

Actual malice is different from common law malice which indicates spite or ill-will.