Cyber Law jurisdiction

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    Internet Jurisdiction

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    Internet Personal Jurisdiction

    When does a court have power over particularperson? Example: Can a resident of Pennsylvania be sued in

    California for breach of an online contract?

    Who decides? The court decides on its own jurisdiction.

    Personal jurisdiction is largely geographic Acts, parties, physical presence in a state

    Acts causing damage or injury in the state

    BUT: the Internet does not respect geography Often cant tell where someone is

    Cant tell routing, cable location, optical fiber, servers, etc.

    Does it matter?

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    Internet Jurisdiction

    Maintaining website that regularly sends information into theforum state on request is sufficient for general jurisdiction.

    Maritz, Inc. v. CyberGold, Inc., 947 F.Supp. 1328 (E.D. Mo.1996). Opinion.

    CyberGold had a website in California that sentadvertisements to interested users who signed up to receivethem

    CyberGold had no employees or physical presence inMissouri

    Maritz, a Missouri corporation, alleged trademark

    infringement Held: Missouri jurisdiction proper. CyberGold automatically

    and indiscriminately responds to each and every user whoaccesses its web site

    NOT JUST JURISDICTION

    OVER WEBTRANSACTIONS

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    08-732 LAW OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FALL 2009 COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL I. SHAMOS

    Internet Jurisdiction Issues

    Where does an Internet company reside? Where any of its servers is located?

    Where the domain is registered?

    Along the path where messages are routed to it?

    Where more than 3 employees work?

    Where its ISP is located?

    Where a lot of computers are located?

    Where orders are taken?

    Where orders are filled?

    Where goods are stored? What about information goods?

    Do any of these distinctions make sense?

    Do we need Internet courts?

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    08-732 LAW OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FALL 2009 COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL I. SHAMOS

    Zippo: Internet Jurisdiction

    Courts recognize three types of eCommerce activity Doing business over the Internet the knowing and repeated transmission of computer files over

    the Internet

    Personal jurisdiction proper

    Passively informational websites little more than an electronic billboard for the posting of

    information

    No personal jurisdiction

    Gray area: defendant has a website that allows a user to exchange

    information with a host computer

    jurisdiction depends on nature of the information transmittedand degree of interaction.

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    08-732 LAW OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FALL 2009 COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL I. SHAMOS

    Intercon Case

    Intercon, Inc. v. Bell Atlantic Internet Solutions, Inc., 205 F.3d1244 (10th Cir., March 9, 2000). Full text.

    Intercon is an Oklahoma ISP (icon.net)

    Bell Atlantic Internet Solutions is a Delaware corp. offering dialupISP service in the northeast US. No presence in Oklahoma

    Bell Atlantic mistakenly routed its email traffic to icon.net insteadof to its subcontractor iconnet.net

    icon.net was choked with email, severely affecting its ISP service.Took 7 months for Bell Atlantic to correct the problem

    Intercon sued Bell Atlantic in Oklahoma

    HELD, jurisdiction proper because defendant purposefullyavailed itself of the Oklahoma server for months after beingnotified of the erroneous address

    (District Court dismissed the case; Court of Appeals reversed.)

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    08-732 LAW OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FALL 2009 COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL I. SHAMOS

    Effect ofForum Selection Clauses

    Williams v. America OnLine, Inc., (2001 Mass. Super. No. 00-0962)

    Software downloaded by AOL damaged Williams computer

    Williams consented to an online Terms of Service contractcontaining the clause: You expressly agree that exclusive

    jurisdiction for any claim or dispute with AOL or relating in any way toyour membership or your use of AOL resides in the court of Virginiaand you further agree and expressly consent to the exercise ofpersonal jurisdiction in the courts of Virginia in connection with anysuch dispute .

    Williams was already an AOL member; previously agreed to a

    Virginia forum selection clause Damage to computer occurred before Williams agreed to new

    contract. New contract governs, but forum selection clause isunenforceable!

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    08-732 LAW OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FALL 2009 COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL I. SHAMOS

    Butler v. Beer Across America

    Beer Across America (BAA): Illinois company selling beer over the Internet;no offices, assets or personnel in Alabama; never visited Alabama

    Butler and her son, a minor, live in Alabama. Son bought 12 bottles of beerfor $24.95 from BAA by ordering over the Internet

    The Alabama Civil Damages Act provides for a civil action by the parent orguardian of a minor against any person who unlawfully sells or furnishes

    spiritous liquors to such minor and may recover such damages as the jurymay assess.

    Butler brought suit against BAA in Alabama. (Why?)

    BAA had sold beer to other Alabama residents, bought beer from Alabamabrewers. Advertised nationally, but not specifically in Alabama

    HELD: no personal jurisdiction over BAA in Alabama. Website electronicversion of a postal reply card

    Butler is not without remedy. Case was transferred to court in Illinois.

    Butler v. Beer Across America, 83 F.Supp. 2d 1261 (N.D. Ala. 2000)

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    08-732 LAW OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FALL 2009 COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL I. SHAMOS

    Bases of International Jurisdiction

    Territoriality principle regulate conduct within its territory

    Nationality principle regulate conduct of nationals, wherever they are

    Effects principle

    regulate conduct having effect in the state

    Universality principle jurisdiction over crimes that are universally condemned

    Protective principle jurisdiction over defendants who threaten security of a state

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    08-732 LAW OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FALL 2009 COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL I. SHAMOS

    The iCraveTV Case

    TORONTO

    UNITED STATES

    CANADA

    PITTSBURGH

    NY

    PA

    BUFFALO

    US TV stations broadcast from Buffalo

    iCraveTV set up receivers in

    Toronto, Canada

    iCraveTV registered the iCraveTV.com

    domain name in Pittsburgh

    iCraveTV.com

    No iCraveTV servers in the US

    iCraveTV was sued in Federal Court inPittsburgh by TV networks, movie

    studios and sports leagues for copyright

    infringement

    Do US courts have jurisdiction?

    iCraveTV wrapped it own advertising

    around the images and served them

    to anyone visiting its website

    Received US TV signals, stored themon a streaming RealServer in Canada

    RealServer iCraveTV is a Canadian company owned

    Pennsylvania residents

    iCraveTV

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    08-732 LAW OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FALL 2009 COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL I. SHAMOS

    Yahoo! Nazi Memorabilia Case

    The Penal Code of France, Sec. R6456, makes it an offense other than for the needs of a film; a show or an exhibit enjoying

    historical context,

    to wear or exhibit in public a uniform, an insignia or an emblem whichevokes the uniforms, insignia or the emblems which were worn orexhibited [by Nazis]

    Penalty:

    fines; higher for subsequent offenses

    confiscation of the object used to commit the infraction

    perform public service; prohibition against carrying firearms for 3 years

    Yahoo! auctions routinely offered Nazi items Yahoo! Inc. is a California corporation

    Yahoo! France is a joint venture between Yahoo! Inc. and Softbank,a UK corporation

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    Yahoo! Nazi Memorabilia Case

    Yahoo! Inc. and Yahoo France were sued in France by LICRA(League Against Racism and Antisemitism) and UEJF (Union ofFrench Jewish Students) to enforce R6456

    Yahoo argued:

    Court had no jurisdiction over it

    Yahoos content is directed to US internauts Yahoo servers are in the US

    Any order against Yahoo could not be enforced in the USbecause of freedom of speech

    HELD, France has jurisdiction over Yahoo because

    violation of the Code was disruptive to public order

    visualization of Nazi objects causes grief in France

    Yahoo (US) offers French content to users in France

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    Yahoo! Nazi Memorabilia Case

    Yahoo! initially complied with the French order

    Dec. 2000 Yahoo filed a declaratory judgment action in Californiaagainst LICRA and UEJF

    asserts jurisdiction on grounds that:

    LICRA, UEJF sent cease-and-desist letters into California

    LICRA, UEJF agreed to Yahoos terms of service

    LICRA, UEJF used t