Justice and fair play may be triumphing — for now — in defining specific personal jurisdiction in Internet cases. Recent decisions rely on traditional concepts of specific personal jurisdiction that ultimately rest on these two related notions. The issue is far from settled, however, and it remains to be seen if the final view of online jurisdiction is one of tradition or revolution, and whether it will help or hurt the growth of e-commerce.
Two concepts of personal jurisdiction have been battling in the courts since the 1996 Inset Systems Inc. v. Instruction Set Inc. [FOOTNOTE 1]decision. The Inset Systemscourt and others reasoned that only a revolutionary idea of specific personal jurisdiction can cope with an unprecedented medium like the Internet. These courts reasoned that cyberspace is at once everywhere and nowhere, rendering traditional notions of jurisdiction obsolete. Such rulings assumed that any company doing business online can and should expect to be haled into court in any state.
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