Who has the Right to Govern Online Activity? A Criminal and Civil Point of View

Uta Kohl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper compares how the Australian defamation case of Dow Jones & Co. Inc. v. Gutnick [2002] HCA 56 and the English obscenity case of R. v. Perrin [2002] EWCA 747 dealt with the legal concept of publication in the transnational online context or, more specifically, with the issue as to how to treat a foreign online publication. Despite the different nature of the causes of action, with the former being a civil case and the latter being a criminal case, the article shows that, not only were the underlying jurisdictional issues the same, but that there were also significant similarities in the approaches taken to them. Both courts firmly rejected arguments in favour of an exclusive country-of-origin approach and stuck with the traditional country-of-destination orthodoxy. Nevertheless, it is argued that, given the different nature of and rationales behind civil and criminal law, as well as the less cooperative transnational criminal law regime, the same jurisdictional approach taken to both civil and criminal transnational activity may in fact yield substantially very different outcomes. Thus, the approach appropriate in the criminal law context may lead to undesirable over-regulation in the civil law context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-410
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Review of Law, Computers and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


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