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The first section of this Article presents the laws governing Internet content providers and the jurisdictional regime that gave rise to this see saw battle. The second section examines a series of court proceedings. The first two proceedings in France in 2000 resulted in a French court order directing Yahoo to add geo-location filtering software to its servers in Santa Clara. The subsequent California district court litigation filed in 2001 resulted in summary judgment for Yahoo. This judgment is on appeal. The third and final section explores the global implications of the French and U.S. proceedings. The section concludes that the international community should restructure certain principles governing international jurisdiction in Internet cases and adopt shared guidelines on online content available to the world market. These changes would promote the principle of international comity while allowing the Internet to retain most of its unique, borderless nature. Without such changes we may, like the people of Lilliput and Blefuscu in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, be locked in senseless conflict for years over which end of the egg we should break, instead of developing the tremendous potential of the Internet as a means for truly global communication.


Originally published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal 18:4 (2003). Posted with permission.

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