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Conflict of Laws and the Internet

Pedro de Miguel Asensio

The ubiquity of the Internet contrasts with the territorial nature of national legal orders. This book offers a comprehensive analysis of jurisdiction, choice of law and enforcement of judgments issues concerning online activities in the areas in which private legal relationships are most affected by the Internet. It provides an in-depth study of EU Law in this particularly dynamic field, with references to major developments in other jurisdictions. Topics comprise information society services, data protection, defamation, copyright, trademarks, unfair competition and contracts, including consumer protection and alternative dispute resolution.
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EXTENDED CONTENTS

Pedro de Miguel Asensio

List of abbreviations

Table of cases

Table of legislation

1.    FOUNDATIONS

I. INTERNET REGULATION AND PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW  1.01

1. Cyberlaw, transnational law and self-regulation 1.01

a. Alternatives and challenges to territorial jurisdictions 1.01

b. Limitations, coexistence and fragmentation 1.08

2. Significance of conflict of laws 1.14

a. Reconciling global Internet with national jurisdictions and laws 1.14

b. Some relevant features of private international law 1.23

II. INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTION 1.29

1. Introduction 1.29

2. Brussels I Regulation (Recast) 1.33

a. Scope and related European instruments 1.33

b. Interplay with the laws of the Member States 1.38

c. Grounds of jurisdiction: overview 1.42

d. Coordination of proceedings 1.57

3. Comparative perspectives: United States 1.62

a. Main features 1.62

b. General and specific jurisdiction 1.66

4. International developments 1.74

III. APPLICABLE LAW 1.78

1. General overview 1.78

2. The Rome Regulations 1.83

a. Commonalities 1.83

b. Rome I 1.88

c. Rome II 1.91

3. Comparative perspectives 1.95

IV. RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS 1.101

1. Main features 1.101

a. Purpose and context 1.101

b. Judgments 1.105

c. Basic checks: implications for online activities 1.113

2. European Union 1.125

a. Brussels I Regulation (Recast) 1.125

b. Third country judgments 1.131

3. International developments 1.133

2.    INFORMATION SOCIETY SERVICES, INTERNAL MARKET AND ILLEGAL CONTENT

I. CROSS-BORDER INFORMATION SOCIETY SERVICES 2.01

1. Definition and significance 2.01

2. Basic legal framework 2.10

3. Place of establishment and territorial constraints 2.14

II. INTERPLAY WITH THE INTERNAL MARKET 2.21

1. Country of origin principle 2.21

a. Scope 2.21

b. Jurisdiction 2.28

c. Applicable rules 2.30

2. Geo-blocking Regulation 2.37

III. INTERNET INTERMEDIARIES 2.45

1. Implications of the intermediary liability regime 2.45

2. Safe harbour immunities 2.47

a. Comparative perspectives 2.47

b. United States 2.50

c. E-Commerce Directive 2.53

IV. TORTS AND ILLEGAL CONTENT 2.60

1. General observations 2.60

a. Illegal content: measures at EU and national level 2.60

b. Internet torts and EU Private International Law 2.65

2. Jurisdiction 2.68

a. General jurisdiction 2.68

b. Special jurisdiction in matters relating to tort 2.72

c. Place of the causal event 2.74

d. Place of the damage 2.78

3. Choice of law 2.85

a. Internet torts under the Rome II Regulation: general rules 2.85

b. Torts governed by special choice of law rules 2.92

c. Law applicable to intermediary liability 2.96

3.    DATA PROTECTION AND PERSONALITY RIGHTS INCLUDING DEFAMATION

I. TRANSBORDER DATA PROTECTION AND THE INTERNET 3.01

1. Data protection as a fundamental right 3.01

2. Basic features of EU data protection law 3.06   

a. EU legal framework 3.06

b. GDPR: Foundations 3.11

c. Unification and its limits: choice of law implications 3.17

3. Data protection enforcement and conflict of laws 3.23

4. Cross-border transfers of data 3.29

a. Free flow of data in the European Union 3.29

b. Transfers of personal data to third countries 3.32

II. TERRITORIAL SCOPE OF APPLICATION 3.37

1. Article 3 GDPR: significance and content 3.37

2. Establishment of the controller or processor 3.44

3. Targeting criterion 3.49

4. Territorial limits of rights and remedies 3.55

III. CROSS-BORDER PROCESSING AND SUPERVISORY AUTHORITIES 3.61

1. Cross-border processing under the GDPR 3.61

2. One-stop-shop mechanism 3.66

3. Complaints with a supervisory authority and judicial remedies 3.71

IV. CIVIL CLAIMS AGAINST A CONTROLLER OR A PROCESSOR 3.75

1. GDPR and private enforcement 3.75

2. Jurisdiction 3.81

a. Establishment as a ground of jurisdiction 3.81

b. Data subject’s habitual residence 3.86

c. Interplay with the Brussels I Regulation (Recast) and national rules 3.89

3. Lis pendens and related actions 3.96

4. Choice of law 3.103

a. Interaction with the territorial scope of the GDPR 3.103

b. Civil liability 3.106

V. PERSONALITY RIGHTS INCLUDING DEFAMATION: JURISDICTION 3.110

1. Libel tourism and other challenges 3.110

2. Brussels I Regulation (Recast) 3.115

a. General observations 3.115

b. Centre of interest of the victim 3.119

c. Mosaic approach, removal of information and other remedies 3.125

3. Comparative perspectives 3.128

VI. PERSONALITY RIGHTS INCLUDING DEFAMATION: CHOICE OF LAW 3.134

1. Lack of harmonization at EU level 3.134

a. Rome II Regulation: exclusion and consequences 3.134

b. Internal market 3.141

2. Future perspectives 3.145

VII. RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS 3.153

1. Introduction 3.153

2. Verification of jurisdiction 3.157

3. Public policy 3.161

4.    COPYRIGHT AND RELATED RIGHTS

I. INTERNATIONAL AND EU COPYRIGHT LAW 4.01

1. International protection of copyright 4.01

a. Foundations 4.01

b. International copyright law and conflict of laws 4.09

2. European Union: comparative perspectives 4.18

a. Harmonization 4.18

b. Exceptions and limitations 4.25

c. Fundamental rights 4.29

d. National fragmentation and the future EU copyright framework 4.34

II. JURISDICTION 4.41

1. Typology of cases: infringement claims 4.41

2. Lack of exclusive jurisdiction and options under EU law 4.46

3. Grounds of potentially unlimited jurisdiction 4.52

a. Defendant’s domicile and multiple defendants 4.52

b. Place of the causal event giving rise to the damage 4.60

c. Centre of interests of the rightholder? 4.64

d. Challenges and restrictions 4.68

4. Limited jurisdiction of the courts of the place where the damage occurred 4.71

a. The debate about mere accessibility 4.71

b. Extent of jurisdiction 4.81

c. Mosaic approach and diffuse copyright infringements 4.84

5. Provisional measures 4.90

III. CHOICE OF LAW 4.96

1. Uniform rules and their limits 4.96

a. The Rome II Regulation and the lex loci protectionis 4.96

b. Initial ownership 4.103

2. Ubiquitous infringements 4.109

a. Plurality of applicable laws 4.109

b. Possible alternatives to the lex loci protectionis4.116

c. Liability of intermediary service providers 4.121

3. Digital Single Market 4.130

a. Special provisions on the localization of activities 4.130

b. Cross-border portability of online content services 4.139

c. A future role for the country of origin principle? 4.142

IV. RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS 4.152

1. Legal sources 4.152

2. Types of judgments 4.156

a. Monetary judgments and injunctions 4.156

b. Provisional measures 4.161

3. Grounds for non-recognition 4.164

a. Verification of jurisdiction and scope of injunctions 4.164

b. Public policy 4.170

5.    UNFAIR COMPETITION, TRADEMARKS AND OTHER INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

I. TRADEMARKS, DESIGNS AND PATENTS: INTERNATIONAL AND EU LAW 5.01

1. International cooperation concerning industrial property 5.01

a. Independence of rights and standards of protection 5.01

b. Registration and granting procedures 5.06

2. European Union 5.09

a. Harmonization 5.09

b. Union rights and unitary protection 5.13

II. DOMAIN NAMES 5.15

1. Main features 5.15

a. Structure of the domain name system 5.15

b. Domain names and intellectual property rights 5.20

2. ICANN: alternative dispute resolution 5.26

a. Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution 5.26

b. Role of national courts 5.32

c. Considerations on jurisdiction 5.35

d. Interplay with national laws and judgments 5.40

3. Domain names under ‘.eu’ 5.48

a. Alternative dispute resolution 5.48

b. Jurisdiction of national courts and choice of law 5.52

III. CROSS-BORDER INTERNET ACTIVITIES AND TERRITORIALITY OF IP RIGHTS 5.57

1. Use of a sign on the Internet 5.57

2. Exhaustion of rights 5.61

3. Online trade and measures against counterfeit goods 5.64

IV. JURISDICTION OVER DISPUTES CONCERNING NATIONAL RIGHTS 5.67

1. Exclusive jurisdiction 5.67

2. Infringement claims: grounds of potentially unlimited jurisdiction  5.79

3. Place where the damage occurred 5.85

V. UNITARY RIGHTS: SPECIAL JURISDICTION RULES 5.91

1. Rationale and structure: general jurisdiction 5.91

2. Multiple defendants 5.96

3. Place in which the act of infringement has been committed 5.100

4. Unified Patent Court 5.107

VI. INFRINGEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY RIGHTS: CHOICE OF LAW 5.111

1. Territoriality and lex loci protectionis 5.111

2. Interaction with substantive law 5.117

3. Unitary rights 5.123

VII. UNFAIR COMPETITION AND ACTS RESTRICTING FREE COMPETITION 5.129

1. Unfair competition and IP rights 5.129

2. Online activities and competition law 5.136

3. Jurisdiction 5.147

a. Significance of the special jurisdiction on non-contractual claims 5.147

b. Mere accessibility of Internet content 5.155

c. Acts affecting exclusively the interests of a specific competitor 5.163

4. Applicable law 5.167

a. Unfair competition: the market effects rule and Article 6 Rome II 5.167

b. Plurality of laws and advertising restrictions 5.175

c. Internal market and the role of the country of origin 5.181

d. Liability for the infringement of antitrust law 5.189

VIII. SCOPE OF REMEDIES AND ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS 5.194

1. Factors influencing the remedies available 5.194

a. Territorial scope: extent of jurisdiction and rights enforced  5.194

b. Internet intermediaries 5.203

c. EU unitary rights 5.208

2. Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments 5.214

6.    CONTRACTS

I. ONLINE CONTRACTS: BASIC LEGAL FRAMEWORK 6.01

1. International initiatives 6.01

a. General remarks 6.01

b. UNCITRAL 6.04

2. European Union 6.10

a. E-Commerce Directive 6.10

b. Directive on consumer rights 6.14

c. Sale of goods and supply of digital content and services 6.19

d. Unfair contract terms 6.24

e. Platform economy 6.27

II. CLASSIFICATION OF CONTRACTS 6.30

1. Online and offline transactions 6.30

a. Absence of special conflict rules for online contracts 6.30

b. Types of contracts and EU conflict of laws 6.32

2. B2B, B2C and P2P contracts 6.35

a. Scope of the consumer protection rules 6.35

b. Contract concluded by a consumer with a trader (B2C) 6.42

c. Social networks, platforms and P2P transactions 6.46

d. Targeting criterion 6.57

3. DLT, blockchain and so-called smart contracts 6.63   

a. Smart contracts 6.63

b. Cryptocurrencies and virtual assets 6.68

III. JURISDICTION 6.70

1. Choice of court agreements 6.70

a. Scope of the Brussels system 6.70

b. Validity and effects 6.74

c. Consumer contracts 6.81

d. Employment contracts 6.88

2. Jurisdiction in the absence of choice 6.91

a. Matters relating to a contract 6.91

b. Place of performance: fragmentation and special rules 6.96

c. Classification of contracts: basic framework 6.101

d. Types of contracts involving non-physical performance 6.104

e. Sale of goods and provision of services 6.112

f. Online delivery of goods and provision of services 6.119

g. Contracts with a weaker party 6.125

h. Implications on recognition and enforcement 6.130

IV. CHOICE OF LAW 6.135

1. Party autonomy 6.135

a. Freedom of choice 6.135

b. Significance of non-state rules 6.139

c. Contracts with a weaker party 6.143

2. Applicable law in the absence of choice 6.147

a. Structure of Article 4 Rome I Regulation 6.147

b. Typology of contracts 6.150

c. Characteristic performance 6.159

d. Escape clause and default rule 6.165

e. Contracts with a weaker party 6.170

3. Scope of the law applicable to the contract 6.173

a. Formation and validity 6.173

b. Characterization 6.180

4. Overriding mandatory rules and public policy 6.187

a. Forum law 6.187

b. Law of a third country 6.195

V. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION 6.200

1. Introduction 6.200

2. Mediation 6.205

3. Arbitration and ODR 6.212

a. B2B 6.212

b. B2C 6.216

Index