Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2150940
 


 



Aiming at the Wrong Target: The 'Audience Targeting' Test for Personal Jurisdiction in Internet Defamation Cases


Sarah Ludington


Campbell University - Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law; Duke University School of Law; North Carolina Central University (NCCU); Campbell University Norman Andrian Wiggins School of Law

September 23, 2012

73 Ohio State L.J. 541 (2012)

Abstract:     
In Young v. New Haven Advocate, 315 F.3d 256 (4th Cir. 2002), the Fourth Circuit crafted a jurisdictional test for Internet defamation that requires the plaintiff to show that the defendant specifically targeted an audience in the forum state for the state to exercise jurisdiction. This test relies on the presumption that the Internet — which is accessible everywhere — is targeted nowhere; it strongly protects foreign libel defendants who have published on the Internet from being sued outside of their home states. Other courts, including the North Carolina Court of Appeals, have since adopted or applied the test. The jurisdictional safe harbor (ironically) provided by the veryn ubiquity of the Internet is no doubt welcomed by media defendants and frequent Internet publishers (e.g., bloggers) whose use of the Internet exposes them to potentially nationwide jurisdiction for defamation. But it may go too far in protecting libel defendants from facing the consequences of their false and injurious statements. For every libel defendant insulated from jurisdiction in a remote location, there is also a libel plaintiff who has potentially been denied an effective remedy in a convenient location. This article argues that the jurisdictional test created in Young is flawed and particularly should not be applied to libel defendants. It concludes with a simple suggestion: that the appropriate test for personal jurisdiction over libel defendants in cases of Internet defamation is the standard minimum contacts analysis.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 34

Keywords: personal jurisdiction, internet, defamation, Zippo, Fourth Circuit

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Date posted: September 23, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Ludington, Sarah, Aiming at the Wrong Target: The 'Audience Targeting' Test for Personal Jurisdiction in Internet Defamation Cases (September 23, 2012). 73 Ohio State L.J. 541 (2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2150940

Contact Information

Sarah Ludington (Contact Author)
Campbell University - Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law ( email ) ( email )
United States
Duke University School of Law ( email )
Box 90360
Duke School of Law
Durham, NC 27708
United States
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) ( email )
Durham, NC 27707
United States
919-530-6171 (Phone)
Campbell University Norman Andrian Wiggins School of Law ( email ) ( email )
United States
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