Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



No recent technological advance has captured the attention and imagination of the United States and the international community like the advent of global communications networks--the Internet, Cyberspace, the Information Superhighway. While the technology advances daily, a legal regime for ordering cyberspace has not yet evolved. Already, cases are reaching the courts in which plaintiffs complain of improper and unlawful activities by defendants in cyberspace. Both cyberspace's growing ubiquity and the anonymity found online will increase international use of the networks for interaction and commerce. This Note considers the conflict of laws implications of transnational cyberspace. The need to consider choice of law in the networked world arises because conventional choice of law approaches--such as lex loci delicti and the most-significant relationship test--are location-oriented. This orientation falters In a cyberspace arranged not by countries, states, and provinces, but by networks, domains, and hosts. The author concludes that many choice of law questions should be resolved in contracts between users and access-providers. Other conflicts questions might require a whole new approach, perhaps using admiralty laws, the lex mercatoria, or choice of law in Antarctica as a model. Finally, a multinational choice of law accord might be required to solve choice of law conflicts in cyberspace.