Worldwide Prescriptive Jurisdiction in Internet Content Controversies: A Comparative Analysis
33 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2005
In the age of the Internet many traditional legal principles acquired new meaning, or at least the necessity to be redefined. It is particularly true in respect of the ability of states to prescribe the laws for online activities and to enforce them on Internet users. International law does not object to the extension of state jurisdiction beyond the state boarders and even provides an arsenal of generally accepted principles. However, automatic application of these principles leads to worldwide liability of any Internet author for simple creation of a webpage, without any other connection with a possible forum. Whereas certain Internet activities are similar to those in the physical world, such as e-commerce, where the partners can at least identify each other and get the warning of legal order, others are substantially different, and among them online expression. As the Internet is now, there are not too many possibilities to control the spread of online content apart from not speaking on the Internet at all, and they are connected with significant burden for all participants. It is necessary to carefully review the validity of the established principles of extraterritorial jurisdiction and to ensure that their application in Internet content controversies is both effective and without undue constrains on expression preferences of others.
Keywords: Extraterritorial Jurisdiction, Internet, Freedom of Expression
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