George Perry

Document Type

Media Law and Policy, volume 7, no. 1, Fall 1998

Publication Date

Fall 1998


The development to date of the law of personal jurisdiction based on Internet and World Wide Web contacts is evolving in a way that could pose a legal threat to all Web site operators, and in particular the smaller independent site operators who can least afford it, by making them subject to being sued in virtually every state in the country. This article reviews the recent case law and concludes that, notwithstanding good policy reasons to do otherwise, some courts are finding personal jurisdiction to exist in circumstances that appear to go beyond the U.S. Supreme Court's admonition that the exercise of such jurisdiction should not offend "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." The article concludes by suggesting some precautions to Web site operators that may mitigate this growing risk.