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."