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LII Backgrounder on
Legal Jurisdiction over the Internet

I. Introduction

Activities and transactions that take place via the Internet challenge traditional legal doctrines that are territorially based. Court rules and constitutional principles, alike, must be reinterpreted in the light of phenomena that take place in "virtual space" but have consequences on terra firma. The stakes range from taxation, to potential criminal liability. The issues include both who can be sued where and whether state or federal can act, and if state, which state.

II. The Case Commentaries

This series of case commentaries by editors of the liibulletin probes this rapidly unfolding new field. As is necessarily the case, they do not provide either a comprehensive nor a definitive view of the law in this area. Some concern cases decided pre-Internet that seem likely to frame Internet law.

The aim of the series is to highlight some of the present landmarks and key issues.

III. Feedback

If you have comments on any of these case write-ups or suggestions of other cases or issues the editors might address, send e-mail to

Updated Feb. 13, 2001

Case Commentaries