Fourth Circuit Finds That Foreign Websites That Use Geotargeted Advertising May Be Subject to Personal Jurisdiction in the U.S.

    Amanda Doran

    On June 26, 2020, a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decision in the matter of UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Kurbanov, finding that the district court may exercise personal jurisdiction over Russian citizen Tofig Kurbanov in a copyright infringement dispute.

    The dispute began in August 2018, when 12 record companies alleged that Kurbanov, owner of flvto.biz and 2conv.com, infringed upon the companies’ intellectual property by allowing users to download audio files from video-streaming websites for free, and without the copyright holders’ permission. The Federal Circuit found that because Kurbanov’s websites record user IP addresses used for geotargeted advertisements by U.S.-based advertising brokers, the district court has personal jurisdiction over Kurbanov and his websites.

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