Cloud computing has revolutionized how society interacts with, and via, technology. Though some early detractors criticized the "cloud" as being nothing more than an empty industry buzzword, we contend that by dovetailing communications and calculating processes for the first time in history, cloud computing is--both practically and legally-a shift in prevailing paradigms. As a practical matter, the cloud brings with it a previously undreamt-of sense of location independence for both suppliers and consumers. And legally, the shift toward deploying computing ability as a service, rather than as a product, represents an evolution to a contractual foundation for interacting.
Already, substantive cloud-based disputes have erupted in a variety of legal fields, including personal privacy, intellectual property, and antitrust, to name a few. Yet before courts can confront such issues, they must first address the two fundamental procedural questions of a lawsuit that form the bases of this Article-whether any law applies in the cloud, and, if so, which law ought to apply. Drawing upon novel analyses of analogous Internet jurisprudence, as well as concepts borrowed from disciplines ranging from economics to anthropology, this Article seeks to supply answers to these questions. To do so, we first identify a set of normative goals that jurisdictional and choice-of-law methodologies ought to achieve in the unique context of cloud computing. With these goals in mind, we then lay out structured analytical guidelines and suggested policy reforms to guide the continued development of jurisdiction and choice of law in the cloud.
Damon C. Andrews and John M. Newman, Personal Jurisdiction and Choice of Law in the Cloud, 73 Md. L. Rev. 313 (2013).