Web sites liable under law of country where accessed

New York judge rules that geography can't get in the way of the law

A supreme court judge in New York may have changed the landscape for Internet companies who base their services in out of the way countries. Justice Charles Edward Ramos has ruled that an Antiguan gambling site is covered by the laws of New York state simply because the service can be accessed from there. According to the Financial Times, Judge Ramos said: "The act of entering the bet and transmitting the information from New York via the Internet is adequate to constitute gambling activity within New York state." A similar ruling was made earlier this month by Judge Christopher Hardy at Southwark Crown Court, who ruled that a Web pornographer could be prosecuted for publishing material declared illegal under the UK's Obscene Publications Act, despite having his server based in the US. These rulings contain a number of implications for Web-based companies and the likelihood of them being sued. One of the more obvious ones is that it could lead to lawsuits being presented in whichever territory has the most favourable laws. ®

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