Britain plans to update laws on defamation dating back to the 19th century to make them more suitable for the Internet age, the ministry of justice said on Wednesday.

The government wants to hear views on whether rules allowing someone to claim each time a libel is published are appropriate in the Web age when content is arguably republished every time a page is requested.

A defamation claim must currently be made within a year of publication. The consultation asks where that time limit needs to be changed when the internet allows content to be accessed for many years.

Existing defamation law needs to be updated so it is fit for the modern age, and it is important we listen to views on the best way to achieve this, Justice Secretary Jack Straw said in a statement.

The deadline for responses to the consultation is December 16. Copies of the consultation paper are being sent to judges, the Confederation of British Industry, Trades Union Congress and the Newspaper Society.