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Jurisdiction of courts on internet Essay

Facebook is a social networking website whose growth has been rapid and with a lot of controversy. It is quite perceptible that the social networking site can be classified as interactive. Friends’ requests and live chart sessions, group invitations, friend requests, group requests, updates notifications inter alia make this site interactive. Facebook has more than 400 million users; an average user has over 130 friends, a user creates over 70 pieces of content monthly and there are more than 25billion shared content-ranging from photo albums, new stories, and internet links among others.

Activity on Facebook is very high (if not the highest), the site falls under jurisdiction internationally (long-arm jurisdiction). The concerns on Facebook emanates from privacy issues, juvenile safety, data mining, the use of promotion and advertising scripts, and account terminating procedures. The issue of intellectual property is also pertinent to personal jurisdiction laws. Facebook changes on the terms of use have also stirred legal concerns. The giant social networking site has tried to make amendments on the terms of use but has not completely succeeded.

Initially the terms of use allowed Facebook the freedom to use personal information with no regards to the users (Open Rights Group 2009). For the court to obtain personal jurisdiction some specific elements have to be considered. Minimum contact requirements must be met, there must be a due judicial process and the defendant’s substantial rights must not be violated. This is done by first deciding on whether a website passes the interactive-passive test. Personal jurisdiction is varied and sometimes the defendant is subjected to the plaintiff’s laws-in a supranational context.

The long-arm statute gives courts jurisdictions over out-of-state individuals or firms whose activities touch on locals. The long arm jurisdiction has a long history from the Zippo Manufacturing v. Zippo Dot Com, 952 F. Supp. 1119 (W. D. Pa. 1997) (Rosenthal 2003). the case gave a basic precedent of answering the question of long-arm statute. In regard to divergent interpretations of the long-arm statute, respective state laws should be examined in deciding on whether a nonresident defendant is under the jurisdiction of a state and on whether they are answerable in that state’s court.

Long-arm jurisdiction is concerns web page creators since it is applicable internationally. The application of long-arm statute becomes blurred when the court is not able to decide on the interactive-passive distinction. According to Wolf advertising alone is not enough to confer personal jurisdiction (Wolf 1999). Conclusion Web owners may be subjected to personal jurisdiction if the website contains; personal information which can solicit business; if the page violates federal law by using or passing personal information to solicit or receive donations and publishes defamatory information.


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