Personal Jurisdiction in Cyberspace: Suggested Class Room Discussion Topic

Jay Kesan
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Law


  1. Brief Summary of Personal Jurisdiction Law
  2. Interactive Web Sites and Persistent Contacts
  3. Passive Web Sites
  4. Nature of Defendant's Activity
  5. Nature of Plaintiff's Claim
  6. Suggested Class Room Discussion Topic

F. Suggested Class Room Discussion Topic

Consider the following two proposals for defining personal jurisdiction in cyberspace:

1) Personal jurisdiction and choice of law must be determined based on where the server supporting your web site is located. There are two exceptions to this rule: (a) Consumer transactions are not covered by this rule; and (b) Assertion of jurisdiction to vindicate some social values, such as prevention of child pornography, would be exempt from this rule.

2) A proposal for determining personal jurisdiction in cyberspace by Allan R. Stein:

Personal jurisdiction should be based on an analysis of the following three factors: (a) Is the activity directed at a particular forum? Does the forum have a distinguishable and differentiated claim over other forums; (b) The nature of the activity - is it illegal, socially undesirable and the like; and (c) To what extent does the threat of jurisdiction undermine the underlying activity in question, such as electronic commerce? Allan R. Stein, The Unexceptional Problem of Jurisdiction in Cyberspace, 32 Int'l Law. 1167 (1998).

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