The right to honour of legal persons

There was no doubt about the right to honour of natural persons, but in recent years the number of legal entities and self-employed persons has been increasing exponentially, with the most important being main players in our marketThis has led to the need to extend the protection of the right to honour to legal persons and the self-employed. 

This protection is based on both Article 18 of the Spanish Constitution and Article 1 of Organic Law 1/1982, of 5 May 1982, on the civil protection of the right to honour, personal and family privacy and one's own image, where no distinction is made between natural or legal persons, and the protection of the right to honour must be applied to both. 

Likewise, our jurisprudence and doctrine have had no problem in recognising the right to honour of legal persons, on the understanding that neither the Spanish Constitution nor Organic Law 1/1982 require that injuries to the right to honour must be individualised. In fact, they have not only limited themselves to recognising and establishing a legal basis in this respect, but also to specifying what conduct is considered harmful to the right to honour in the case of legal persons or the self-employed. 

Reputation, fame and prestige are the elements protected by the right to honour.

In this regard, numerous rulings of both the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court have established that conduct that undermines the reputation, fame and prestige of the legal entity is harmful to the right to honour, as such conduct can cause great financial damage and can lead to distrust on the part of potential clients or suppliers. and any other type of rejection in the market that is involved

However, with regard to the possible pecuniary loss suffered, both courts agree in determining that there is no obligation to prove lossIt is sufficient to establish that there has been unlawful interference with the honour of the legal person, that is to say, that conduct has been carried out which has resulted in and is harmful to the latter's right to honour. 

The right to honour also applies to comments, opinions or reviews with offensive or defamatory content.

On the other hand, the increase in the use of computer media and the Internet has led to the emergence of a new form of infringement of the right to honour, consisting of the publication and exposure of comments, opinions and reviews. These experiences help future clients to trust the services offered by the specific legal entity, but we must not forget that, in this type of situation, not all the experiences are real and do not come from people who have actually been clients, and may be from the competition itself. 

As a consequence of the above, this type of conduct has been analysed and studied by our courts, being considered harmful to the right to the honour of the legal person when it concerns comments that are repulsive or demeaning, offensive, defamatory or insulting in content, as well as when they clearly discredit or disparage

However, it may be thought that this type of commentary is protected by freedom of expression, but in reality, it is far from the object of protection of this freedom, especially if it contains insults, falsehoods or expressions that aim to generate the loss of customers. What freedom of expression seeks to protect is none other than possible constructive criticism, that which, despite being negative, expresses a personal experience from a respectful point of view.

Therefore, any comment, opinion or review that departs from the concept of constructive criticism will be considered as harmful and detrimental to the legal person's right to honour. 

In short, every legal person has the right to honour, which must be protected against harmful, offensive and defamatory comments or publications, since the reputation, fame and prestige of the legal person are the elements that generate sufficient trust and determine future clients with regard to a possible contracting of its services. 

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