Innovative technologies of the modern world have occupied the lives of people. To imagine life or work without the Internet is impossible, as people became dependent either form information on the Web or on communication which also is provided through the Web. The existence of so many sites on the Web puts the question of whether there is the jurisdiction responsible for the sites and whether a court has personal jurisdiction of an individual only because he/she has posted the Website. The question is perfectly summarized by Christopher Wolf in his article “Standards for Internet Jurisdiction”, which was written in 1999 when the Internet era was in its developmental stage.
Considering the Website of the Coca-Cola Company (2009) it may be concluded that its owners are the personal jurisdiction responsible, but it is not really so. The Website does not provide any financial activities, neither sales nor links to the paid sources are given. The Website just gives general information about The Coca-Cola Company, its products, and some other related topics, nothing more. The whole site is the advertisement, but the company does not get any financial profit, s the site is the property of the company, so it is not interactive, but a passive site, and may not be considered as personal jurisdiction.
Personal jurisdiction becomes an issue for those who post Websites in cases when financial relations become the focus of the site. In other cases, when general access to the information is provided, without any online purchases and other financial relations, the Website posters may not be exercised as personal jurisdiction. One of the reasons, a website owner may be concerned with a court’s ability to obtain “personal jurisdiction over them, is the brand name possession. An example is Bensusan’s trademark against the same name company in another state, and Bensusan was considered to be the only law possessor of the name as it led financial affairs online and was regarded as jurisdiction responsible (Wolf, 1999).
To be regarded as the personal jurisdiction for the court, the Website possessors should conduct business online with numerous contacts, be the Internet sales resident, or enter into specific dealings with forum residents. In the enumerated cases above the court is required to use long-arm jurisdiction. The long arm jurisdiction is an issue for those who create or post Web pages. The reason for this is their confidence in being unattainable by the law, as sites may be created in any part of the world (Wolf, 1999).
Considering the advertising on the web as the only reason for conferring personal jurisdiction is possible as advertising is one of the most profitable businesses and it costs much for the advertiser to put the links to his/her company Website or to post the picture of the advertised product on the other Website. Considering the interactive and passive distinction of the Websites, it should be noticed that interactive Websites are responsible before the law, while passive not. Interactive sites provide active financial operations online, while passive just give general information, without any financial profit (Wolf, 1999).
In conclusion, any site owner may be of two nature, either responsible before the law or not. The existence or absence of any commercial or financial activity on the site (the profit for the owner of the company is meant), is the main reason to regard the site posters as personal jurisdiction or not. The question is rather important as in most cases the court trials on the Internet issues are considered to form the personal point of view, as there is no direct Internet jurisdiction.
The Coca-Cola Company. (2009). Official website. Web.
Wolf, C. (1999). “Standards for Internet Jurisdiction.” Find Law, 241482. 2009. Web.