The Action Bias in American Law: Internet Jurisdiction and the Triumph of Zippo Dot Com
Richard K. Greenstein
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law
Temple Law Review, Vol. 80, p. 21, 2007
Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 30
American law reflects the stories we tell ourselves about who we are as a nation. To illustrate the effect of America's stories on the law, I identify and describe in this essay a particular characteristic of American law: an actionbias - a propensity to bestow disproportionately greater legal significance upon affirmative acts than on failures to act - and I argue that this bias reflects, in turn, a powerful myth at the core of the self-image of the United States, a myth I call the Immigrant's Tale.
To illustrate this thesis, I give a number of instances of the action bias, but focus primarily on the career of an important federal district court decision: Zippo Manufacturing Company v. Zippo Dot Com, the case that formulated the framework now used almost universally in the determination of personal jurisdiction in Internet cases.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: story, narrative, internet, personal jurisdiction, myth, Zippo Dot Com
JEL Classification: K41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 22, 2006
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