Questions have been posed on Afternic's policy forums as to jurisdiction in cross-border domain disputes. Good questions: with no simple or consistent answer.

A proposed Hague Convention on private judgments may simplify matters, though, and not necessarily in your favor. It is a very big deal; about which there's been no US press coverage.

These extraordinary discussions concern a proposed Hague Convention on Jurisdiction that would include provisions regarding business-to-consumer transactions in cyberspace.

On completion it will determine the rules for collecting private judgments across borders, and it will apply to nearly all private litigation, including copyright, trademark, patents, libel, slander, and more. Under the proposal, you could publish something on the Internet, and be sued for libel in the UK, and have the result of the judgment collected in the USA.

There is a proposal, by the Hague Secretariat, to provide an exception from domestic laws on privacy or consumer protection when firms abide by industry self regulation schemes.

And of note, the USA has voted *against* the language in Article 7 that would permit consumers to always sue in their country of residence, in favor of the business proposal that you could be forced to waive that right as a condition of doing business.

(NOT PLEASED? Tell Jeffrey Kovar, Assistant Legal Adviser for Private International Law, US Department of State in Washington, D.C., (202) 776-8342.)

Follow these links for more details and background information.

Judith Oppenheimer is a noted toll free number and domain name expert; president of, and publisher of Copyright (c) 2000 ICB, Inc. All rights reserved.