Italy Extends Welcome To Internet Libel Suits
from the lawyers-without-borders dept
If somebody writes something about you that you don’t like, go to Italy and read it there, because then, apparently you can have them prosecuted for defamation. Lance Armstrong will go on trial there next year, stemming from comments he made about Italian rival Filippo Simeoni to a French newspaper. Even though the comments in question were published outside the country, a judge determined the alleged act of defamation occured when Simeoni read the article online in Italy. The question of who has jurisdiction over content published online remains unanswered, with courts in some countries, such as Australia, asserting that something that can be read in their country is liable to their legal system. As we’ve noted before, these precedents open up anyone that puts content online to be sued anywhere in the world — something that will lead to jurisdiction shopping. In fact, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine countries building up Internet libel industries, with rules allowing people to sue anyone, anywhere and courts friendly to libel claims, much like some countries become corporate tax havens.