March 3, 2012

New law review article: "Punitive Damages in Cyberspace"

Michael Rustad of Suffolk University Law School has posted on SSRN a copy of his article: "Punitive Damages in Cyberspace: Where in the World is the Consumer?"

From the abstract:

A content analysis of all Internet-related cases reveals that no consumer obtained punitive damages during a decade of cyberlaw litigation. Tort remedies have the potential of filling the gap left by ineffective criminal sanctions against cyberwrongs such as online stalking. Public enforcement needs to be augmented by consumers operating as “private attorneys general” who pursue punitive justice against cyberlaw wrongdoers. At present, punitive damages serve as a form of corporate self-help to assist corporations in protecting rights and consolidating market share in cyberspace. I explore the reasons why punitive damages have not yet developed as a consumer protection remedy in cyberspace. This Article will demonstrate that punitive damages are a necessary consumer remedy against Internet wrongdoers where the probability of discovery is low and the harm to consumers is generally undetected and unpunished by public authorities.