Friday, September 20, 2002

jurisdiction over the internet

Can information posted on a web site in one state cause the person who posted it to be answerable for that information in a court in another state? Does it matter whether or not the person had some knowledge or intent that their information would affect someone in that other state? Denise Howell, of Bag and Baggage has published a very interesting look at a California case that is examining different aspects of that question. The article, Ready, Aim, Defend: Pavlovich v. Superior Court Nears The Finish, is about a California case that has the potential to make the issue of jurisdiction on the web more confusing than it has been in the past:
Unless the California Supreme Court reverses the decision now before it (formerly reported at 91 Cal. App. 4th 409; PDF), the question of California jurisdiction over tort claims against Web publishers no longer may be limited by considerations of the defendant's knowledge or intent. Instead, it may turn partly on amorphous concepts like "industry presence," and partly on the misapplication of spatial metaphors to the non-spatial network that is the Web.
If you publish anything on the web, the decision of the California Supreme Court may be something you might want to read when it is released.

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