Can I sue a foreign website owner under the U.S. jurisdiction for a copyright infringement?

If I found my infringed content is posted on a foreign website, can I sue the website owner and bring him/her under the U.S. jurisdiction? Or I can only sue him/her under his/her country jurisdiction?

Orland, CA -

Attorney Answers (5)

Daniel Nathan Ballard

Daniel Nathan Ballard

Internet Lawyer - Sacramento, CA

If the copyright infringement occurs wholly outside the U.S. then a U.S. court would have no subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the infringement claim [because, in general, U.S. copyright law does not have extraterritorial effect].

However, if the alleged infringer (1) has sufficient contacts with the U.S. such that a federal court's exercise of jurisdiction over the person or company would comport with our notion of fair play and substantial justice or (2) is engaged in the allegedly infringing conduct within the U.S. then the alleged infringer could be sued here.

Only your own attorney can evaluate the facts relevant to the question and whether it makes any economic sense to file suit. Good luck.

The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and... more
Frank A. Natoli

Frank A. Natoli

Internet Lawyer - New York, NY

Whether the US would have jurisdiction over this person really depends. Depending on which country, however, you may be able to use those courts to seek a remedy as many are a party to the Berne treaty regards to the application of copyright laws. It is also entirely possible that the ISP hosting the content may respect a DMCA Take Down notice even if they are not located in the US or its territories, so that is worth exploring as well.

It might be helpful to have a copyright lawyer near to where the defendent is located send a Cease & Desist letter so they know that they may be sued where they sleep.

Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

Best regards,
Natoli-Lapin, LLC
(see Disclaimer)

The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the... more
Luca Cristiano Maria Melchionna

Luca Cristiano Maria Melchionna

Business Attorney - New York, NY

When it comes to transnational litigation, the options are many as well the results. In order to have the US applicable you need to have personal or SM jurisdiction, at least. Sometime however, the US jurisdiction seems not the best one because you do not have D assets to seize. You need to hire an international firm dealing with international litigation with a previous assessment of your damages. Best.

This reply is offered for educational purpose only. You should seek the advice of an attorney. The response given... more
Athina Karamanlis Powers

Athina Karamanlis Powers

Business Attorney - Beverly Hills, CA

As a California Attorney I Generally agree with my colleagues for the U.S law. BUT as a real international attorney (former lawyer of the Supreme Court of Greece ,Court of Justice (Brussels) And Certified Fraud Examiner, I will add that there are many ways to skin the cat that unfortunately my U.S colleagues don't know. Before you dismiss any form of action or reaction to your problem think that If you leave the issue without doing anything you better kiss off your web site !
I am sure I can help u.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not... more
Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Alton, IL

There is a legal test and a practical test. Attorney Ballard has given you the legal test, so i won't repeat that here. The practical test is, once you gota judgment here could you collect either here on the US, or somewhere. If you can't collect, the economics may not allow you to sure, as then finances say you are going to lose money suing.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is... more

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