Personal Jurisdiction for Internet Torts: Towards an International Solution

Hestermeyer, Holger P. | January 1, 2006

As an introduction to the issue of Internet tort jurisdiction, Part I will recount the Yahoo! case, the most divisive case on the issue recently. Parts II and III will give an overview of the current law on Internet tort jurisdiction in two different legal systems: the United States and Germany. They will show that several recent cases in both countries have applied targeting approaches as advocated by Michael Geist and Rufus Pichler. However, insecurity remains and jurisprudence is far from consistent. Part IV will argue that insecurity about Internet jurisdiction could be reduced significantly if countries were to commit themselves in an international convention to abide by a targeting approach along with guidelines for relevant criteria. Such an international law approach would limit the risk for website hosts of being dragged into court anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, an opportunity to pursue such a regime during the negotiations at the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgements in Civil and Commercial Matters (“Judgements Project”) has been lost with the collapse of those negotiations