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internetnews.com: One Net, One Law?

Jun 27, 2001, 16:00 (11 Talkback[s])

internetnews.com looks at the issues surrounding the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments, which aims to delineate global rules for cross-border litigation and set new rules for online copyrights, free speech and e-commerce. Free-speech advocates are concerned that, if ratified, the Convention would force all global Web sites -- regardless of their origin -- to conform to the most suffocating and narrow free-speech laws, such as those of, say, China.

"Under the aegis of the Convention, countries with more strict requirements may be allowed to crack down on ISPs (regardless of their country of origin) on the basis of their customers' content. ISP's, therefore, are concerned that the treaty will effectively require them to act as Internet content police, scouring the Web to make sure sites they host don't break the laws of any convention member country...."

"The Corporate world is equally troubled that the Convention, if endorsed, could upset e-commerce because it would ostensibly force Web infrastructure companies to monitor every transmission that moves over their networks."

"'People don't realize what a disaster this could be,' said Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation, claiming that the Convention aims to regulate all software, not just the free kind."

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