Personal Jurisdiction and Choice of Law in the Cloud

54 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2013 Last revised: 4 Oct 2016

See all articles by Damon C. Andrews

Damon C. Andrews

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

John M. Newman

University of Miami - School of Law

Date Written: March 3, 2013


Cloud computing has revolutionized how society interacts with, and via, technology. Though some early detractors criticized the “cloud” as being nothing more than an empty industry buzzword, we contend that by dovetailing communications and calculating processes for the first time in recorded history, cloud computing is — both practically and legally — a shift in prevailing paradigms. As a practical matter, the cloud brings with it a previously undreamt-of sense of location independence for both suppliers and consumers. And legally, the shift toward deploying computing ability as a service, rather than a product, represents an evolution to a contractual foundation for all relevant interactions.

Already, substantive cloud-related disputes have erupted in a variety of legal fields, including personal privacy, intellectual property, and antitrust, to name a few. Yet before courts can confront such issues, they must first address the two fundamental procedural questions of a lawsuit that form the bases of this Article — first, whether any law applies in the cloud, and, if so, which law ought to apply. Drawing upon novel analyses of analogous Internet jurisprudence, as well as concepts borrowed from disciplines ranging from economics to anthropology, this Article seeks to supply answers to these questions. To do so, we first identify a set of normative goals that jurisdictional and choice-of-law methodologies ought to seek to achieve in the unique context of cloud computing. With these goals in mind, we then supply structured analytical guidelines and suggested policy reforms to guide the continued development of jurisdiction and choice of law in the cloud.

Keywords: cloud computing, personal jurisdiction, choice of law, conflict of laws, civil procedure, complex litigation, copyright in the cloud, antitrust in the cloud, privacy in the cloud

JEL Classification: O30, O31, O34

Suggested Citation

Andrews, Damon C. and Newman, John M., Personal Jurisdiction and Choice of Law in the Cloud (March 3, 2013). 73 Maryland Law Review 313 (2013), Available at SSRN: or

Damon C. Andrews

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ( email )

(704) 763.9723 (Phone)

John M. Newman (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

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