Final Protective Fire


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Volokh Conspiracy
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Prof Bainbridge Blog
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Jim Dunnigan's site
Cold Fury
Karl's blog

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Thursday, September 05, 2002

Some law geeking now.

Many years ago, while clerking at a major Los Angeles area law firm, I wrote a memorandum about jurisdiction and the Internet. Howard Bashman's excellant blog has a link to an article about what is called "Long Arm" jurisdiction in a case being argued before the California Supreme Court. This has long been an area of interest for me. What is being argued is a branch of jurisdiction law where the US Supreme Court has created an exception to the requirement of a defendant having contacts with the jurisdiction asserting personal jurisdiction over a civil matter where the defendant is not a resident of the state. In this branch of personal jurisdiction law, the allegation of an intentional tort "aimed" at the jurisdiction substitutes for the contacts the plaintiff would otherwise have to show.

Here, the question is whether or not posting infringing material on a website is "aiming" tortious conduct at a state. This is an extremely important issue with respect to the Internet. Basically if the lower court opinion is upheld, California will be asserting a jurisdiction so broad that basically anyone can sue anyone whereever living and claim jurisdiction in California's courts for just about any civil litigation about a website's content. Hopefully such an opinion by the California Supreme Court would be appealed to the US Supreme Court. ( This is a constitutional law issue because the reach of personal jurisdiction of state courts to out-of-state defendants is considered a "due process" issue ).

Appellateblog also points us to some comments by Denise Howell. Ms. Howell has some links to the Court of Appeals' opinion.