One who does by himself or his agents make a thing publicly known; one engaged in the circulation of books, pamphlets, and other papers.
2. The publisher of a libel
is responsible as if he were the author
of it, and it is immaterial whether he has any knowledge of its contents or not; 9 Co. 59; Hawk. P. C. c. 73, 10; 4 Mason, 115; and it is no justification
to him that the name of the author accompanies the libel. 10 John, 447; 2 Moo. & R. 312.
3. When the publication is made by writing or printing, if the matter be libelous
, the publisher may be indicted for a misdemeanor, provided it was made by his direction or consent, but if he was the owner of a newspaper merely, and the publication was made by his servants or agents, without any consent or knowledge on his part, he will not be liable to a criminal prosecution
. In either case he will be liable to an action for damages sustained by the party aggrieved
. 7 John. 260.
4. In order to render the publisher amenable to the law, the publication must be maliciously
made, but malice will be presumed if the matter be libelous. This presumption
, however, will be rebutted, if the publication be made for some lawful purpose, as, drawing up a bill of indictment
, in which the libelous words are embodied, for the purpose of prosecuting the libeler; or if it evidently appear the publisher did not, at the time of publication, know that the matter was libelous as, when a person reads a libel presence of others, without beforehand knowing it to be such. 9 Co. 59. See Libel
; Libeler; Publication.